We all want freedom.
So many of our favorite songs
are about it.
As George Strait sings in Amarillo By Morning:
“I ain’t got a dime
But what I’ve got is mine
I ain’t rich
But Lord, I’m free.”
We mostly think of freedom in the political sense:
Having the right to go where we want, do what we want.
Live without a dictator telling us what to do.
And in the spiritual sense:
Free to grow in our soul and become our best generous self.
Free to worship God in the way we wish.
But what about psychological freedom?
Have we ever said to ourselves:
‘Well, I may be pretty free on a political and spiritual level
…but I sure don’t have psychological freedom.
I’m not free inside my own mind.
In fact, I’m a miserable prisoner in there!!!
All I hear all day is:
“What an idiot you are!
What a fat ass.
What a loser.“
Does any of this sound familiar?
Most of the folks I have worked with in therapy
who were suffering from depression, anxiety, loss and defeat,
were submitting to these accusations.
They believed them to be true.
What happens when you believe them?
I remember Denny, a quiet respectful guy
who said he had hardly had a day of peace in forty years.
He was a Nam Vet.
He had been raised not to kill.
Denny was under continuous internal judgment
for having shot a man at point blank range.
So close he was looking him in the eyes
when he did it.
He had never been able to forgive himself.
Even though the man he shot was about to shoot him.
It took Denny a very long time to begin to overcome
the suicidal inclinations that had resulted
from accepting this merciless inner judgment.
As a Christian he believed in forgiving others.
It was himself he could not forgive.
What about you?
Hopefully your self judgment is not at this level of seriousness.
But continuous self criticism is painful at any level.
Being a prisoner in your own mind
and not understanding what is going on
is an extremely painful way to live.
I lived that way until I was 26
when my analyst gave me a psychoanalytic key
to my inner jail cell door.
I would love to pass it to you
if you will let me.
Let’s begin by exploring self criticism.