Liberation and freedom
The definition of freedom for some people sounds similar to “You can do whatever you want instead of doing things you do not want to do”. So, if freedom means that we can and should do what we want and what is best for us, why are we not simply following our heart and just do things we enjoy or what is best for us? For example skipping a meeting we really do not want to attend because we consider it as unnecessary and boring or because we would rather chill with our friends. Or just saying people what we think about them, regardless how we would make them feel with it. Or, a little bit more extreme; why are we not just moving somewhere in the woods or up in the mountains if everything has become overwhelming in our lives again, which would be somehow the probably purest definition of freedom? In contrast to definitions describing freedom as doing whatever we want to do, some definitions state that freedom means to do whatever we want to do, but without harming anyone and rather doing things that are good for us and for our (social) environment, because if everybody would just do what is best for them, without considering other people’s feelings, everybody would behave egoistic, which would be in contrast to the positive association of freedom. Additionally there exist some factors holding us back from just doing everything we want to do. For example, our morals and values which are taught by our social environment and our social environment itself, as we (at least most of the time) don’t want to hurt our loved ones. Therefore, our freedom to decide what we want to do is strongly influenced by other factors rather than just following our hearts (even though it is never a bad thing to listen to what our heart wants to tell us, as cheesy as it might sound, but just as long nobody gets hurt).
Next, freedom entails for some people that you allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them instead of feeling miserable about doing something wrong and having the autonomy to create other pathways to achieve their goals.
Of course, there exist more aspects of freedom, especially because everybody has their own definition of freedom, those were just some examples we wanted to share with you and maybe also make you think about what freedom means for you.
There is a saying “the only independence is financial independence”, which is very hard for students. Most of us are hanging on student credit or parental support and then afterwards years of student debt. One day however, we are hopefully free from that and have our own jobs to make our own money. Probably by the time we can buy things we don’t actually need is also the time we don’t even want them anymore.
Financial freedom then usually means having enough savings, some investments and enough money to afford the life you want without having to worry about cutting short on other aspects.
There are a few steps that can help you get into the direction of financial freedom: you need to know your debts and your fixed costs, so make a list. Then start paying off those debts, while slowly starting to save up some money. Once you save an amount that equals at least three months of income, you can start investing or think about other ways to make a passive income. The goal of most people who strive for financial freedom is to let their passive income pay for their fixed costs, so they only have to work as much as they want to.
Of course not everyone is striving for financial freedom, especially because barely anyone enjoys looking at their financial situations.
Freedom of gender and sexuality is first and foremost about being whoever you want to be, it does not matter if you are or identify as gay, straight, male, female, non-binary, transgender or any other type of gender or sexuality. However, this type of freedom is also about being yourself within the gender and sexuality you are or identify yourself with. Within each type of gender and sexuality, we have built a list of stereotypical behaviors. For example, straight males are masculine, and homosexual males are feminine. Or straight males do not cry, and homosexual males are always emotional. Even if we say that we accept everyone, we still have our stereotypes that we want them to comply with. For example, trans women have to be feminine and trans men have to be very masculine. So even when we say that we accept, we still have our set stereotypes we want people to comply with. So are we actually truly accepting people for who they are? But maybe the bigger question, can we be our true selves if we all have to live according to the stereotypes of the gender and sexuality we are or identify with?
If we keep living according to the stereotypes of the gender and sexuality we are or identify with, we can never be completely ourselves. And the biggest problem that is created from these stereotypes, the next generations will grow up and change their behavior to comply with our set stereotypes. Everybody wants their future children to be completely themselves and feel accepted. However, we can only achieve this by respecting and accepting everyone like they are and so, setting the right example. Freedom of gender and sexuality is not just about the freedom of loving whoever you want and choosing your own gender, but it is also about living the way you want to live. And if you do not agree with someone else their way of living, always remember this: Live and let live!
SPOILER ALERT: The topic of gender and sexuality will be further elaborated on in our upcoming LGBTQ+ blog ;)
Freedom of speech and expression
Making fun of political leaders might be something that all of us take for granted sometimes. Even though satire is humoristic, it also shows a more critical view of what’s going on between important decision makers. The world of the free is only as limited as to where you can freely use your voice, for your opinion, emotions or for your song.
In Afghanistan the government announced that girls above the age of 12 are not to sing anymore, and especially not around men. A wave of protests went over social media, with videos of Afghani woman singing defiance of their government, with the hashtag #IAmMySong. In a lifetime of war and violence, music is an escape for many women. Their voice matters.
The right to freedom of expression consecrated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, which sets out the basic human rights to express yourself and to speak your voice. Exercising theses rights without fear or interferences is the oxygen to a fair and open society.