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World Mental Health Day: Are we mentally free?

This year, the Federal Government joined other nations to impose a curfew as one of the steps to reduce the spread of covid 19. The people lamented on the effect such law had on individual freedom. Earlier this month,the nation marked her sixty years freedom from Western colony. Few days ago, the people protested against the Special Anti-robbery squad for (SARS) for invading on human rights.

While we focus on external freedom like geographic freedom, financial freedom,and political freedom we neglect a fundamental freedin- mental freedom. …. Mental freedom is freedom from society conditioning, society expectation and need for approval. It is the detachment of oneself from society labels. It is the recognition that one is not ones gender. One is not ones tribe.One are not ones religion  .These are roles assigned to us while we are young. They were neccesary at that time when we lacked the ability to think. Now we have a choice to examine them and not carry them through adulthood.

Mental freedom begins by excersicing control over ones emotion. Ones emotion does not dictate what one does. Frequent outburst over little triggers signals one who is a slave to his anger. Theft and corrupt practices are signs of a slave to emotion of desire and greed. Whatever controls your emotion controls you.

Men who are unable to cry in public for fear of being labelled a weakling are in gender bondage.He cages those tears,act tough ,engage in drinking and smoking and other maladaptive act to suppress those emotion. A free person would choose to let the tears flow. Women who abandon their career to cater for kids out of duty as a woman and not out of love and personal choice is a slave to traditional gender roles.

One who is naturally kind and compassionate but will not hesitate to watch a thirteen years old boy die over opposing view is not free to his conscience. As long as we need an ancient book to tell us what is right and what is not,We cannot be mentally free. The book is thinking for us.

One who prefers candidate A but goes ahead to vote candidate B because his politicalGodfather, parent or religious leaders asked him to will continue to be a pawn in their hands. A governor who takes decision to please the Godfather but not in the state best interest is a slave to The godfather.

To be liberated from societal conditioning, we need need to examine the effect certain words have on us . He notices thoughts that brightens his mood and those that does not Why do I feel angry each time someone insults my Tribe, My prophet, my political party? These tribes, prophet, party existed long before I was born. I am not them. My happiness should not be tied to someone perception of them.

Next is to challenge our thoughts. Why do I belong to this group in the first place.? Could it be because my immediate family belonged here? If they belonged to the opposition, would I be a member of the opposition? Am I biased? Then he plays the devil advocate. He tries to see things from the opposition point of view. What if they are right?

We exlores our tendency to hand over decision making to Those perceived as superior to him Do I easily hand over decision to authority? Are authority always right? The present covid 19 pandemic showed a case of different medical doctors with conflicting view on the efficacy of Chloroquine in the treatment of the virus. Since experts could disagree over an issue, why can’t an individual disagree with the expert?

A mental free person explores various opinion ,engages in self- thinking and detach oneself from society labels. You are not your gender. You are not your tribe.you are not your religion  .These are roles assigned to us while we are young. They were neccesary at that time when we lacked the ability to think. Now we have a choice to examine them . arriving at his own decision. His decision may not allign with that of the majority.He does then anyway.

Examining ones name, do I really love my name? You can begin by choosing a different name. One that reflects whom you really are or aspires to be. We can choose the values dear to us and live by them.

The journey towards mental freedom is not achieved over night. It takes periods of continuous effort . The society would never be in support of your quest.No jailer wants her captive to be free.

2 replies on “World Mental Health Day: Are we mentally free?”

I cannot but agree with you. Mental freedom is hard to come by. As I get older I am beginning to question every thing I have been told and truly by my judgement many of them are baseless and I have decided to live by my conviction not by what religion or any ancient history book have told me.

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