When someone asks me to define myself using a single word, I choose the word "Freedom". In today's world, if we live in a democracy we think we are free but, are we really? If you start questioning people's freedom, they will be shocked that you even dare to question that. They will say that they live in a free society where there is freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and if you really pissed them off they will say that they are free to say how cheeky you are.
    If we stop for a moment and think more about it, our daily life is somewhat limited by rules we follow in order to live in harmony within a community or society. Those set of rules immediately undermine our freedom, and on top of that when we consider that people, corporations and media are always telling us what to think and what to do then our freedom vanishes like a mirage. Now, I'm not promoting Anarchism here. I understand the need for rules and unless we are prepared to be self-sufficient and live like a hermit in a remote location, we need to follow those rules.
When we live in a society, interaction with other people happens all the time and as a result dependencies and expectations arise that compromise our freedom even more. There are many factors, situations and circumstances that erode our freedom every day and start creating tension in our bodies and our minds. Many of these factors, situations and circumstances act as a spur to negative emotions such as resentment, ire, anger, frustration, depression and anxiety, and prevent us from living our lives to its fullest. For example:
  • Some people in this world truly do not care about what other people think. For the rest of us, we care to a greater or lesser degree. So, instead of living freely, we live based on what other people say or we live based on the norms and standards that society dictates.
  • We are constantly flooded by advertisement images in different media (TV, magazines, billboards on the street, etc.) that put messages deep into our subconscious. Think about this, if you get up in the morning and say "I'll have a nice glass of orange juice", was it entirely your choice or perhaps you're thinking that way because the day before you passed a billboard (which by the way you didn't consciously acknowledged) showing a beautiful woman, relaxing in her garden, drinking a glass of orange juice while the sun was shining in the background?
  • Manufacturers use clever advertising techniques to sell their products. They know how to create dependencies by playing with our feelings and emotions very well, and when some of these products further create a chemical dependency in our bodies then we are really hooked up. Things like smoking, alcohol, drugs and food (i.e. sugar) undermine our freedom. Other things like consumerism and over-spending create a big burden in our lives. Ask anyone currently overwhelmed with debts and hiding from debt collectors.
  • Some people have a fear to change patterns in their lives that no longer suit them. For example, someone living in an abusive relationship. There's an old saying in Mexico "Más vale malo conocido que bueno por conocer" - "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't" and some people live by it. However, by doing nothing to break those patterns and choosing to live an unhappy life instead, we're literally locking ourselves up in a cell allowing fear to take control of our lives.