• Written by Eric North aka “The Happiness Warrior”

As The Happiness Warrior, I’ve always defined freedom as the ability to be our authentic selves without judgment or need for validation. This is freedom in its purest form and one that no one has the power to take from us. The feeling of being whole and complete when we find freedom in our own minds and actions. Freedom is when we are secure with who we are and live our daily lives in accordance with our core values. Above all else freedom lives in our conscious thoughts when we are able to see the value in ourselves and our dignity as individuals. Happiness and freedom to be ourselves comes from within when we are aligned with our true selves. It’s time to give ourselves permission to learn what personal freedom is all about.

As lofty as the ideal form of freedom may seem, we rarely ever see it in action. We may talk about it, but we rarely ever think about what it really means for living a truly good life. A life where we know our value and respect ourselves for who we are. A place where we can display both our vulnerability and inner strength.

As individuals we’ve been conditioned by societal values to conform to the expectations and needs of others. We cringe from honesty, and we are afraid to live in our truths and fear being shamed by others. We spend our days living our lives wishing for a day that might never come. The day we can be ourselves in harmony and at peace with our authenticity. The natural state many of us quietly yearn for. The freedom to be ourselves.

Often the ones screaming the loudest about their freedom don’t understand what freedom means at all. They are usually followers not leaders. Afraid of their own shadows and eager to spread their confusion and self-doubts. Why do so many seek others to show them what freedom is without ever revealing or believing in themselves? Nothing divides us more than someone who is insecure from the failure of their own inactions. Self-awareness is the only cure.


The greatest tool to go forward in life is the attitude that we choose to live by. The attitude we select is the path forward through our lives. Attitude is how we navigate our lives and fuels our journey. Nothing is more important than the attitude we select when facing obstacles and adversaries. It can be as serious as life and death.

Attitude creates our perspective and how we view the world. It determines if we will be happy. It determines our wisdom and ability to feel at peace with ourselves. It gives us strength when times are bad and creates happiness when we are fulfilled with purpose and momentum. It’s the determinant of living a good life or not. Attitude is everything!

We can learn to practice freedom even when life is hard. We can develop a mindset to give us clarity and an attitude to make life less difficult. We can be our best when we are free in our hearts and minds. This is the path to greater wisdom, happiness, and peace of mind.


One of the most powerful paths to creating more personal freedom is through expanding our ability to be self-aware. This capacity to create a deeper understanding of our very spirit is found within all of us. Why do so many work so hard to avoid and embrace it?

With this mindset we know without a doubt that freedom is meaningless unless we can create a clear understanding of ourselves. It’s the ability to be introspective and find a deeper understanding of ourselves. Inclusive of our strengths and weaknesses. Our core values and true beliefs. We can stop being influenced by others when we are at our most authentic and secure with ourselves.

These are the signs and red flags to look for in ourselves and those around us as we come to know ourselves better. They can be bad for us, but we can also learn, create momentum, and thrive. The list is simple and easy to see:

1.       Never admitting mistakes or apologizing for transgressions.

2.       Criticizing others rather than looking at their own role in the situation.

3.       Avoiding difficult decisions and being noncommittal. Not making a decision is the same thing as a decision!

4.       Being vague and noncommittal with feelings to avoid any personal truth or authenticity.

5.       Worry too much about the future rather than living in the present.  The present is all that matters when living in freedom.

6.       Spend too much time in the past and negative. Each day is a new day to be better.  Never look back on anything with regret.

7.       Allowing someone else to make decisions for us sabotages our future. This is all too common especially in family dynamics. Unasked for good intentions usually don’t get the result we desire.

8.       They set traps for others for personal gain.

9.       They do favors without asking and overstep boundaries. This is how others gain control over us. We usually realize our errors much too late.

10.   They practice excessive flattery. This is red-flag number one. Never trust a flatterer with empty words of praise and acclaim. There is always a hidden agenda behind these words.

11.   They try to take up your space and gain control through manipulation.

One of the hardest things for most of us is to allow ourselves to feel vulnerable. For some of us this can be crippling and create a setting for chaos and confusion. We can change this cycle by giving ourselves permission to be honest with ourselves and letting go of past hurts and mistakes. As humans we don’t always like to admit our errors, but we are so much better when we forgive ourselves and let them go. Self-awareness can be the beginning of greatness in our lives. We have to know ourselves first before we can see ourselves at our best and realize our potential.

Vulnerability to others can also be a difficult emotional process. We have been told over and over since childhood to keep our mouths shut, not complain, and mind our own business. Often this causes us to shut down and stop socializing and participating in the best things in life. It causes us to believe that we know what others are thinking and shame ourselves without cause or reason. Lack of vulnerability holds us back from being our best and showing up for ourselves. It harms our ability to live in a free state of mind.

It can be life-changing to learn the true power of vulnerability and the boost that gives to our lives and character. It’s honesty and humility at their best. It’s being human and not being afraid to be ourselves. Vulnerability is a gift to ourselves to help us grow and create wisdom. It’s the beauty of being human.


As The Happiness Warrior, I believe that every human has a right to be happy and that happiness is a basic human right. Without happiness we will never know freedom and with a happier mindset we will know what it means to be free. Freedom as a concept only exists in our own minds. What might feel like freedom to someone else might not feel like freedom to us. It’s something that we must define by our rights and self-discipline. It’s a concept in our own way of thinking. It’s a construct that comes from aligning with our own way of thinking. It’s an attitude and a self-belief. There is no such thing as group freedom but rather the collective free-thinking freedom that we create as a community.

The first steps to creating a defined and personal mindset for freedom begin with an intuitive guide. These principles are already ingrained in our subconsciousness. Trust your inner voice and go forward with these simple values and guides. We are happier when we are living in our truth and intention:

1.       Live with integrity and let it be our compass. Honesty and solid moral principles that are unwavering are the way forward to the life of our dreams.

2.       Think positively and know that there’s a solution to every problem. This is an essential element of freedom.

3.       Always be happy for the success of others. Envy and criticism will always hold us back and make us miserable.

4.       Maintain an attitude of gratitude. Never take anything or anyone for granted. Leave a positive impression of strength and contentment for others. Be an example for others who are struggling.

5.       Don’t take anything personally. We never know what anyone else is really thinking or their motivations.

6.       Identify triggers that cause us to self-sabotage. Say it aloud and make a vow to recognize and stop it in the future.  Turn the corner, forgive, and never look back.

7.       Maintain an “always be our best attitude”. Every day is a chance to be better than the last. It’s so life-affirming and ensures a life of more freedom.

Freedom is a concept that’s held so dear to many, but we’ll never understand it fully as individuals until we open up our minds and experience life on our terms. A mindset that perseveres in the face of life’s challenges. A freedom of attitude and forbearance that will forever keep us strong and wise. It’s our actions and rather than our feelings that give us a voice!

ERIC NORTH - The Happiness Warrior

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