What often holds us back is lack of self-awareness. So we move from place to place, from person to person, from job to job, only to find ourselves with the same grievances.
Jose Marti y Perez, a 19th century Cuban writer, philosopher and revolutionary, once noted, “To change masters is not to be free.” He was talking about political freedom. But the thought also applies to personal life. Without self-knowledge, we remain prisoners of our own prejudices.
Can you be free if you don’t know yourself? Can you be free if you don’t understand others? Can you be free if what others think of you becomes more important than what you think of yourself?
Can you be free if you are easily fooled, when you can’t tell the difference between goodwill and false affection? It has been said that ignorance is bliss, but can an ignorant person be free or is the blissful person, rather, a prisoner of his own ignorance? Without real knowledge we remain imprisoned by our own past, prisoners of our own childhood.
To be emancipated is to be free from a past that places its hand on your shoulder and says, “You can go no further; you can do no better.”
Many live enchained by thoughtless customs, meaningless rituals or the mindless acceptance of things as they appear to be. Many live under the heavy weight of the carelessness of teachers, the taunting of other children or the cruelty of parents.