Are you free?
You might tell yourself you are. You might live in a country in which you can vote. You might be able to get up and choose how your days run.
But what are you hooked on? What are you a slave to? Coffee? Adrenaline? Work? Money? Do you wake up every day at ease, or are you gripped by anxiety, or another unseen force that drives your behavior? Are you in control of yourself?
If you’re not, that’s not freedom, even if it looks like it from the outside. “No man is free who is not master of himself,” Epictetus tell us.
That’s why Seneca talked about how everyone was a slave to something—even slaveowners were slaves to their slaves. Self-mastery is the only true freedom. Being able to control your thoughts, your emotions, your actions—that is liberty. That’s what we’re after.
So ask yourself today, when you feel pulled by an urge or an old habit or feel inclined to do the things that everyone else does: Am I really in charge here? Can I choose to regain control of my own life?