How to Free Ourselves from Innocently Self-Created Prisons

Last week I posed the question, “Do we need to know our purpose to be happy?”

This week, I had planned on sharing the process of learning my own purpose. In light of the controversial sentencing in the Stanford rape case and the tragedy in Orlando, it feels more relevant to share how my purpose might relieve some suffering.

Escaping

My purpose: Inspiring and urging us to freedom from our innocently self-created prisons so that we may be more fully ourselves and make our unique contribution to the planet.

Let’s back up for a moment. What is an innocently self-created prison? Our own thinking that causes our own suffering.

Maybe we are hating the “haters.” Maybe we feel victimized. Maybe we engage in us and them thinking. Maybe we feel less than. Or hopeless. And, the list goes on . . .

I found it heart-wrenching to read the long letter from the survivor in the rape case. And, I read the whole letter because I wanted to bear witness to this courageous young woman stepping out of the victim prison into making a unique, impactful contribution to the planet.

What innocently self-created prisons might you notice you’ve created this week?

I faced this question head-on in 1994 when my 25-year-old boyfriend died of a morphine overdose by his own hand. My shock and grief was so intense that I wished I had died with him.

At one point fairly early in my grief, I had a clear and lucid moment in which I knew that his death would either take me under or make me stronger. I consciously chose life.

I recognized I could bring to the planet something from him. In thinking about his greatest attributes, I realized that he was the most unconditionally loving person I knew. I decided in that moment to be more loving myself from that day forward.

Today, I recognize that love is needed in both these tragedies.

It would be so easy to judge, blame and make wrong. And, it’s almost as easy to see the self-created prisons that led to these crimes. It’s also probably easier to focus on outrage than it is to step out of a self-created righteous prison to make our own unique contribution right now . . .

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Ann Strong, founder of Strong from Within and Thriving Coaches.

Author of Thriving Work.


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