The Anxiety of Freedom

Normally when we think about anxiety and its causes things such as money, relationships, negative emotions and the like come to mind as primary causes of our mental anxt. However what about freedom?

Søren Kierkegaard said “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom”, and the existential philosophers and therapists have pointed out very clearly that as often as not it is the challenge of dealing with our individual inner freedom and inner power that is as much a cause of stress for us in our life as anything else (see Rollo Mays’ ‘The Discovery of Being’ for a good exposition of this).

When we are really exercising our power of choice and freedom to choose our future fully, we are also saying “I am in control of my life and in control of my destiny”. Relatively few people seem ready to take on this responsibility and the burden of anxiety that we anticipate will come with it.

However I think probably that the lengths we go to to avoid really taking responsibility for our life and stepping into our personal freedom cause much more anxiety than actually having the balls to step into our own power fully!

At any rate being mindful of our inner response to choices and personal opportunities for inner freedom in our day to day life is definitely a good daily object of meditation!

© Toby Ouvry 2011, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website www.tobyouvry.com

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