May You Choose Love and Light in 2018!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Freedom: What Does It Mean To You?

By Judith Ashley

During February I’m blogging every Monday on one of Dr. William Glasser’s Psychological Basic Needs. Today I’m talking about Freedom. Dr. Glasser said this Basic Need is often in conflict with the Basic Need of Love and Belonging because they can be seen as the antithesis of each other.

What does it mean to you to be free? Do you couch your response in terms of choices or movement? Do you have another frame of reference you use to describe your definition of this word?

In my short story “Is He The One?” included in Windtree Press's "Gifts From the Heart" available through Windtree Press and major e-retailers, my heroine, Sophia Denton uses Dr. William Glasser’s Psychological Basic Needs to sort through her feelings and find the answer to Jonathan’s proposal. She readily acknowledges they love each other but is that enough? Will she miss the independence she has now? Will he change and want to be ‘the boss’ in their marriage? Bottom line: How important is “Freedom” to her and will she be able to meet that need if married to Jonathan.

Dr. Glasser often used examples of freedom to choose when he talked about this basic need. Because he taught we ‘choose’ our behavior, it really does cover more than what we choose to wear or eat for breakfast.

I had a great conversation with a friend of mine today. The words “freedom” or “free” came up frequently as we talked over almost four hours! We've both had life experiences in the last few years that totally changed how we thought our lives would be. While traumatic at the time, we've both come to see those events as “freeing”. Jolted from the complacency of what our lives would be like, we've searched and at times scrambled to figure out how we wanted to move forward with our lives.

We all have ideals and beliefs that frame our lives. A death, divorce, loss of job or a natural disaster like an earthquake, hurricane or tornado can have devastating effects on our lives. These same events can also “free” us in that we have an opportunity to reinvent ourselves, find new relationships that are a better fit for us, experiment with a new life direction.

If you see “freedom” as meaning you get to do what you want, when you want, as you want without taking other people into consideration, that may bring you in conflict with people in your life who see their lives more through the love and belonging or power lens.

The challenge in understanding Dr. Glasser’s Basic Needs is to find balance between them. I may have a high power need (see my life and relationships from that position) but what about my relationships. How do I balance my desire for control of myself and at times of others with my desire to have close loving relationships with my spouse, children, friends?

Its question time!

1. What words come to mind when you think of the word “freedom”?

2. How easy is it for you to take “orders” or “direction” from others? What are the exceptions, if any?

3. In a workplace or a family, what can you do to ensure your own and other people’s need for freedom is respected and protected?

4. Can there be too much freedom?

Next week I’ll explore the Psychological Basic Need of “Fun”. I hope you’ll join me. And, please ask questions! I’ll do my best to expand on Dr. Glasser’s concepts in my answers.

Judith is the author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual practices that nourish the soul and celebrates the journey from relationship to romance. She is also on the Senior Teaching Faculty of The William Glasser Institute and schedules training leading to Certification in Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory and Reality Therapy.

Learn more about her work with Dr. Glasser’s concepts here or Check out The William Glasser Institute for more training and educational opportunities.

Learn more about her writing and The Sacred Women’s Circle series at

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