The Secret to Freedom

“The secret to freedom is courage.” ~ Thucydides

Last month when “belonging” was the topic, I began thinking about how we find courage to choose where to belong and with whom to belong.  When I finished writing, the monthly topic had changed to “courage.”  So, here I am.  

Years ago, I was asked to take a job that I didn’t really think I was ready for, a job that I planned to say “no” to if I were asked. But I said yes. Truthfully, I didn’t have the courage to say no.  It didn’t work out well. Eventually I was told I didn’t fit and should go, and I wasn’t sure what to do afterward. Then someone asked me a pivotal question, “Why is it so important to belong?”

I began pondering that question.

Through reflection, I came to realize that belonging is a choice, one I wasn’t being very decisive about.  Did I want to belong?  And if I did, to whom and which groups would I want to belong? How did I want to give of myself and with whom, I wondered.  How did I want to grow, and with whom did I want to share that growth?  Where would I find encouragement, and where could I encourage others?

Our 4th principle in Unitarian Universalism is that each of us has the right to a “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.”  In other words, our choices are our own to make.

We grow in independence and freedom when we find the courage to make our own choices.  Our experiences are also a chance to learn about ourselves and others along the way.  Sometimes defining our choices takes time, but it can be time well spent.

I believe in encouraging the courage to choose where and with whom to belong.  For myself, well, yes, I’ve also learned how to set and follow my own boundaries.  Since taking charge of my journey, I’m on a much happier path.  

~ Denise Benshoof

This entry was posted in Courage and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Secret to Freedom

  1. Peggy A says:

    Denise, your courage in asking these questions and in finding your answers is an inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Denise says:

      Thank you, Peggy! I came across a book today about just this topic by Brené Brown, “Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone.” I haven’t read it, yet, so I’ll have to look it up.

  2. Katrina says:

    Your reflection is poignant for us all. I didn’t ask myself those questions when I accepted a position teaching in Gwinnett. I was going to “make it work” come what may. That kind of role in a workplace becomes perfunctory at times, and other times becomes a rich journey that I could not have generated myself.. still other times , I was exhausted by the challenges. All that said, it was a relief to have my career boundaries set up for me, so I could do my job well, then go home and have a rich life with myself and family. I really like what you have written about the confidence level needed in making personal choices and the liberation that it yields in making life a happy one. Now that I’m retired, I am, yet again, building both boundaries as well as seeking new directions .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *