How to be a prisoner

cute frog statue in a bird cage

“Care about what others think and you will always be their prisoner.” ~Lao Tzu

I used to think that caring about another person meant that I had to care about what they thought of me, but I’ve learned over time that I can actually care about another person better when I am not caught up in trying to edit who I am to manipulate their opinion of me. Setting them free to think whatever they think sets me free to be true to who I actually am.

The scary freedom of a butterfly

drawn butterfly in black against stylized background

“It’s hard to know whether to laugh or to cry at the human predicament. Here we are with so much wisdom and tenderness, and—without even knowing it—we cover it over to protect ourselves from insecurity. Although we have the potential to experience the freedom of a butterfly, we mysteriously prefer the small and fearful cocoon of ego.” ~Pema Chödrön

How often fear tempts us into being a smaller version of ourselves as we seek to protect ourselves, and yet what amazing freedom lies beyond that cocoon of ego when we are able to face fear without hiding away our deeper wisdom and tenderness.

The habit of being happy

woman and girl smiling in river during heavy rain while holding a large leaf overhead

“The habit of being happy enables one to be freed, or largely freed, from the dominance of outward conditions.” ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Our habits define us, so when we develop the habit of being happy, outward conditions have less power over our experience since we default to our habit. There is tremendous freedom in that!

To what degree do you have a habit of being happy? How could you strengthen that habit?