In 2022, it’s easy to feel trapped by social media, people’s expectations, 24-hour news feeds, and just plain old fear. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking for freedom.
But how do we find it? You can’t turn back the clock on technology. You can’t stop people from expecting things from you. You can’t stop the world from turning so you can get a minute to think.
You can, however, control your actions, set boundaries, and filter what comes into your reality.
Why should anyone else determine how you should live, or what should occupy your mind?
Here are 5 keys to achieving more mental freedom in 2022:
1. Understand Individuation
Carl Jung believed that individuation was the main objective for a person in the modern world. The Society of Analytical Psychology defines individuation as:
“…the process of self realisation, the discovery and experience of meaning and purpose in life; the means by which one finds oneself and becomes who one really is.”
Individuation is the act of carving out your identity from the collective. It occurs when you shape your perspective and determine your unique purpose(s). Individuated people don’t abandon society; they only cease to be defined by it.
According to Jung:
“It would be ludicrous to maintain that man lives in order to breathe air. It is equally ludicrous to say that the individual exists for society.”
If you want to be free, consider if you’re really honoring who you are, or if you’re just going with the collective flow.
“For believe me! — the secret for harvesting from existence the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment is: to live dangerously!” – Nietzsche
We don’t do things we’re scared to do enough.
There’s no freedom like crossing personal barriers; standing up to someone, asking out the person you’ve been dying to ask out for months, traveling to a foreign country by yourself.
Some of the most beautiful, memorable experiences occur after taking a risk. Actually, probably most of them.
And there’s no worse feeling than committing to face fear, and then running away when the time comes. We all have our thing. We all know what we would like to be doing. But how many of us actually do it?
If you’re alive, you could be the person who does.
3. Stop Drowning in the Digital World
I never feel more behind, more trapped in a loop, and more caged in than when I’m aimlessly wandering the internet. If you want more mental freedom, digital minimalism is the key.
The principles of digital minimalism:
- Create rules around your internet usage.
- Pursue social connections and experiences in the real world.
- Schedule stretches of time when you don’t use any technology (digital detoxes).
- Make time for solitude and reflection.
After one day of digital minimalism, I feel more clear, present, and grounded in my own life. I say in my own life because the internet makes you feel out of your life. You get absorbed in the influencers and the opinions and the news and the politics and every other terrible thing that exists.
The more you stand apart from the noise, the freer you’ll be.
4. Design Your Floorplan
Is it wrong to design your lifestyle?
Most people would say, “No! Of course not.” So, if that’s true, why do we all still worry about people’s expectations? Why do we scramble to be married by 30 years old? Why do people judge you when your life doesn’t fit the timeline?
If you want to free your life, you need to decide how you want it to look. Do you want to get married? Do you want a studio apartment? Do you want to wear hats? Do you want to live out in the woods? It’s down to you. You get the last word.
The alternative is forcing your life to fit a mold. Instead of being the architect of your own happiness, you let someone else design the floorplan.
Some people go their whole lives living someone else’s script. Then when they turn 50, you find them impulse buying jet skis and cheating on their partners with yoga instructors. Please, give yourself the ultimate gift, and decide what you want your life to be before someone else does.
5. Find Tribes and Authentic Relationships
“The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.” – Esther Perel
We feel the freest around the people we’re closest to.
Unfortunately, having few close friends is becoming the norm in the western world, and many people report having none at all. I don’t know how this trend started, but it needs to end. If we want to feel free, we need to find the people we resonate with, our tribe.
By tribe, I’m talking about a group of people you can share your thoughts and experiences with. You can go to them for support and feedback. They’re the ones you laugh with, cry with, and take on challenges with.
Being with your tribe, or even a single person you can call a true friend emancipates you from the pressure to be someone else. If you can find the people who resonate with your authentic self, you are rich, and you are free.
Your Life Is Distinct
I’m sick of feeling crushed by fear and expectation. I’m sick of having horrible news shoved down my throat every morning. I’m sick of walking in someone else’s footprints. And most of all, I’m sick of being preoccupied with things I can’t control.
If you want to feel free in our brave new world, here’s what you need to focus on:
- Individuate who you are from who you think you should be.
- Hurl yourself into the abyss, and discover that it’s a feather bed.
- More Life, Less Internet.
- Write the script on what your life will be like.
- Discover the people who make you feel free.
I hope you find your freedom, whatever that might look like.