What is freedom? I suppose we often think of it as a right that we enjoy here in the United States, and having to do with our constitution, democracy and the like. So it can seem to be something that is bestowed upon us rather than emanating from within us. Paradoxically, it is usually those who have been oppressed who understand that freedom is an attitude that comes from within, not from without. As I was contemplating this, my mind turned to Dr. Martin Luther King, and in looking up a quote to use, came across this line from his letter written while he was imprisoned in Birmingham, Alabama:
“We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.”
There are many ways we can be oppressed, and in my years as a therapist, one of the most potent I have found is the voice inside our own minds that tells us (at times relentlessly) how worthless, shameful, or undeserving we are. My wish for you this coming Independence Day is that you may begin to find ways to demand freedom from this internal oppressor. We here at LifeWorks offer the kind of psychotherapy that can aid in gaining that freedom.