Imagine working a job you absolutely hate. Your life is filled with unnecessary stress and anxiety, and as time goes by, the thought of quitting pops up more and more often.
You spend weeks evaluating the pros and cons of quitting. In the meantime, your mental health gets worse. Then one day you realize you’ve had enough. You write your resignation letter and hand it in.
And you feel on top of the world. Words literally cannot describe the sense of relief that you get. It’s liberating. It’s kind of a natural high.
That’s what happened to me a few years ago. I’m sure a big percentage of the population have experienced something similar as well (though I hope their workplace wasn’t as toxic as mine).
That’s one example of an experience that’s totally liberating. If you are stuck in an environment that’s not meant for you, and then manage to get out — you free yourself, you liberate yourself.
What makes an experience “liberating”?
If you type the word on Google, you’ll probably see its definition: “providing a release from a situation which limits freedom of thought or behavior”.
Essentially, a thing or experience that’s liberating gives you more freedom. That’s all it comes down to.
It could be freedom from a job or routine, or from a state of mind, a toxic relationship, limiting beliefs, material possessions. Literally anything that can limit your freedom (or wellbeing) in any way.
We all experience liberating things, whether it’s on purpose or because of total coincidences. But you’ll find that when you live consciously, when life no longer “happens” to you because you are the creator of it, that opens the door to new liberating things.
Both your lifestyle and your intentions/goals can make it easier or harder for you to do liberating things.
For example, minimalism makes it easier to free yourself from material possessions. Spirituality and psychology help you overcome limiting beliefs and break out of all your mental cages.
Most importantly, your willingness to change and become a new person will lead to some of the most liberating experiences. Some of them will never happen to those who are stuck in their comfort zone.
So if there is a take-home message here, it’s to embrace change. Be fanatical about change. Don’t focus too much on who you are — focus on who you want to become.
Most liberating experiences in life
1. Going on a sabbatical
Taking time off work can be one of the most liberating things ever. Whether it’s for a couple months, a year, or longer. Whether it’s to travel around the world or learn something new.
Not only does a sabbatical allow you to take a break from the routine you’ve had for years — you also and most importantly have more time. At first, it can be disorienting. But then it’s liberating.
2. Saying no without explanations
If you value your productivity, or your time in general, you’re going to have to say no quite often. Specifically, say no to people. It’s hard enough to do that for some of us, and that’s usually because of excuses.
Like, we feel it’s not appropriate to say no unless we have a valid reason. But when the reason is a very straightforward “I don’t want to”, or no reason at all, it can be liberating because we learn to be a little bit more selfish, in a good way.
3. Doing a no phone challenge
Grab your smartphone. Turn it off. Resist the temptation to turn it on for a day or two. And don’t spend those two days agonizing over missing out (you are not missing out on anything in particular). If you can do that for two days, try a week.
The funny thing is, this may have happened to you already. Your previous phone may have died, or you may have lost it, and did an unintentional “phone detox”. It may have been frustrating, or annoying. But you probably felt liberated as well.
4. Flirting with complete strangers
One of the things we should free ourselves from is the endless list of should, can’t, don’t — societal expectations, unwritten rules about everything and anything.
Including the way we connect with others. Depending on your personality and how you grew up, the thought of hitting on strangers (anyone who does not belong to your social circle) can be intimidating. But when you want to do it and it’s appropriate, go for it.
5. Not caring what others think
This is more of a personal philosophy or attitude rather than an “act”. However, some acts or decisions in life definitely indicate that other people’s opinion of you (what you think that they think) has zero importance for you.
For example, when you challenge generally accepted ideas regardless of people’s reaction, or when you refuse to do something just because everyone else does it. It’s totally liberating.
6. Starting a new life
Feeling stuck? Feeling suffocated by your environment and the people around you, even if they are the nicest people? Feeling you can’t possibly reach your potential if you stay where you are?
When you leave everything behind and start a new life, you are liberated from your old life and the old you. And you discover that the past version of yourself wasn’t really you, but rather all the things you absorbed from the old environment.
7. Fasting or intermittent fasting
You can’t “free yourself” from food. Human beings have evolved, but I’m pretty sure we still need to get energy from food. Plus, food is awesome. It can be one of the greatest pleasures in life. That being said…
You don’t want food to dictate everything you do from the moment you wake up until you go to bed. We need food, yes. But food should never be an addiction, if that makes sense. Fasting teaches you that you don’t have to eat all the time, and can have surprising health benefits as well.
8. Solo traveling
Traveling in general shows you that there is more. You meet the most amazing people, go on the most amazing adventures, discover different cultures and wonder, why don’t we do this in our country?
Now, solo traveling is, in a way, even better. Some say it’s the only way to travel. Not only is it liberating because you no longer depend on others to enjoy your trip, you also learn that it’s perfectly fine to suddenly be on your own in the middle of a totally different environment.
9. Lowering your standards
Does the idea of being normal sound bad? Does the thought of having a normal life scare you? Of course, we don’t want to have a normal life in the sense that we want to grow and evolve, and live life to the fullest.
However, lowering our standards can be one of the most liberating experiences ever. Whether it’s standards in terms of lifestyle, dating and relationships, career, and even ourselves. Perfection is alluring, but it’s a trap. You’ll find that most of the time “good enough” is good enough.
10. A healthy bank balance
Nothing too spiritual or philosophical here. For almost all of us, money is important, and reaching a point where you have enough savings, or a pretty good financial situation in general, can be an immense relief.
Especially if you used to struggle with debt or lack of money. I guess those things make you appreciate financial stability even more. Chances are you spend a significant amount of time making money and thinking about money, so the less you depend on it, the better.
11. Altered states of consciousness
For example, astral projection (an intention out-of-body experience where you see and travel to other dimensions). Or psychedelics. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated, or extreme.
Meditation is an altered state of consciousness. Or when you dance to your favorite music. And even when you’re about to fall asleep and your mind gradually surrenders, you are in a totally different state of mind (which is why some of our best ideas come up exactly in those moments).
12. Not owning a car
This may not be possible depending on where you live. And don’t get me wrong — owning a car and being able to drive wherever you want, whenever you want is amazing. I think most of us see owning a car as freedom, and that’s true in some cases.
However, having to drive can be limiting. And stressful. Having to drive means you have to own a car and worry about maintenance and all that. Whereas if you are able to just walk to places, and no longer rely on a vehicle, you are much more free.
13. Blocking toxic people
Blocking people who are toxic to your mental wellbeing is not immature, or selfish. It is simply a sign that you respect yourself and don’t allow others to interfere with your peace (I’ve already written an article on this, by the way).
It’s liberating because it liberates you from guilt and false responsibility. When you go from having to respond to choosing whether to respond (online, but offline as well), you tend to be much more present.
14. Being assertive
Ever spent hours falling asleep, thinking about that thing you should have said to that person in that moment, but you didn’t, and now you are beating yourself up and feel miserable? Horrible, isn’t it?
That probably wouldn’t have happened had you been more assertive. I think most people struggle with being assertive, saying no, and having boundaries. It takes practice, but it gets easier. And once you become more assertive, it’s totally liberating.
15. Quitting an addiction
Obvious one. The worse the addiction, the more liberating it will be to quit. Now, when we hear the word addiction, we usually think of cigarettes or alcohol or gambling — and those are definitely very addictive.
But think of things like shopping, social media, sugar, video games, chocolate, caffeine, fast food, and even work (for workaholics). The truth is, our willpower is not as strong as we think it is, and it’s easy to get addicted to things or behaviors.
What was your most liberating moment?
Can you think of any life-changing experience, event, or decision that freed you from something limiting — your own limiting beliefs or insecurities, a toxic environment, or societal expectations?
If you are comfortable sharing, do so by leaving a reply below! 👇