The greatest gift I have ever been given is the freedom to be myself. Fully accepted, without any attempt to control or fix me. My elementary school teacher, my grandmother, and my closest friends have given me this gift, and it’s humblingly beautiful.
In my book, if you really love someone, let them be truly themselves. Trust each other, want one another to be happy, and be happy when your loved ones find happiness. Let go of clinging so tightly that you lose your individual selves.
This is easier said than done sometimes – it can be hard to give someone else freedom when you are feeling trapped, for example.
But maybe freeing people around you to be themselves will also free you a little bit to be more yourself, your real self, even the parts that you don’t think other people will like. You might be surprised to find that those very parts that you hide are what they love most about you.
Here is one of my favorite poems, by the great poet Khalil Gibran, to inspire freedom in your relationships today:
Let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.