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  • Writer's pictureAmanda DeBernardi

Embracing True Freedom: The Path to Self-Discovery

But are you willing to be uncomfortable first?

Whimsical roses on a blue background
Original artwork by author

Freedom is discovering who you are.

The tricky part about accepting that you are free is that you have to be willing to sit with the discomfort of getting to know yourself before you can fully experience the feeling of being free.

It would be so much easier if someone just told you who to be. If there was a formula that you could follow.  If there were steps you could take and boxes you could tick, it would remove all of the guesswork.

There are plenty of institutions, organizations, influencers, and people with a lot of money who would love to tell you who to be. They do it all the time. They’ve been doing it since you were in the womb. 

Most of maturing is unlearning who you were taught you should be. 

Having a right way and a wrong way feels absolute and I suppose there are a lot of folks who thrive on being told the world exists in absolutes. I wish it were simple.  I have not found that to be the case, however.

When you know, you can’t unknow. When you decide that you will not be told, there’s no going back. That is scary. We like certainty. But we also suffocate if we don’t have creativity and expression. It’s pretty fucked up.

So, are you willing to be uncomfortable enough to get to know yourself? To be alone with yourself? 


I love this song by Sia.

The lyrics say it all...

I wanted everything I never had

Like the love that comes with light

I wore envy and I hated that

But I survived

I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go

Where the wind don't change

And nothing in the ground can ever grow

No hope, just lies

And you're taught to cry into your pillow

But I survived

Ugh, so good, right?

Most people are not willing to go there. When you aren’t distracted you are confronted with things that need healed. Things that you’ve been avoiding.

If you are ready to be free, what are you supposed to do?

No one can tell you how to be yourself.

All you can do is approach getting to know yourself with curiosity and compassion. What do you like? What is your favorite food? What music lights you up? What is your creative outlet?

There are a lot of folks who have advice and methods and steps and quizzes. Try them all and explore what makes sense. Remember that no one has it all figured out. If you take a step back and give yourself some distance, you will see that a lot of spiritual wisdom is essentially the same, just stated differently. 

When you remove the dogma, it’s all about love, compassion, and forgiveness anyway. So be open and curious. 

If you come across someone telling you that their way is the only way, run!

What would give you the safety you need to be open and curious? What clean-up do you need to do to make your home, your immediate environment, and your mind a place where you can relax and just be?

It might mean setting boundaries and getting fierce about what stays and what goes. If something or someone doesn’t feel right, it does not belong in your world. Get support if you need it. 

It might also mean addressing trauma and past hurt with gentleness and compassion.

This is a process. Begin by doing something nice for yourself. You deserve to be comfortable. There is no prize for suffering and no need to hold on to pain from the past. If you are ready to let go, you have to feel the difficult feelings without attachment to the meaning that you gave them.

What does your suffering say about you? It doesn’t matter.

What matters is the healing that is available when you feel your feelings and let them go. What is waiting to be explored? How much more energy will you have if you aren’t clinging on to hurt and letting it take up space? What beautiful flowers can be planted when the weeds are pulled?

I find myself clinging to suffering sometimes because I want my pain to be acknowledged. I wanted the people who hurt me to hear me and feel remorse and regret. I want them to say that they are sorry and to feel the pain that they caused alongside me.

The greatest path to freedom that I have found is to validate my feelings for myself. 

This means feeling my pain.  Accepting that it is not possible for anyone else to truly know what I am experiencing and that doesn’t make what I am going through any less valid.

Rehashing past hurts does not make my experience any more valuable. It only traps me in my misery.

The best way that I have found to work through this is by journaling and making art. I can give my pain a voice with words. I can materialize the energy that surfaces through art. 

I thought that I had to analyze and understand what I was feeling to make it real. When I allowed myself the space to feel without the need to trace back every pattern to its origin at the beginning of time, I was finally able to let go.

We’ve heard that space is the final frontier or that the depths of the ocean are the last uncharted places on Earth, but most folks overlook their inner world.

Wishing you courage, comfort, and a curious heart as you get to know the real you.




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