Balancing Freedom vs. Responsibility


Balancing Freedom vs. Responsibility

We all long for more freedom or responsibility. Since they are polarities at either end of a continuum, it is no surprise that we tend to move back and forth at different stages in our life. The key is learning how to keep balance.

This topic has surfaced as I watch myself and my clients work through this issue of finding balance. It is a constant. After working crazy hours almost 7 days a week, don’t you long for the freedom to do nothing without consequence – Yes, I do! And after long stretches of limited responsibility and the freedom to choose whatever you want, don’t you long for something purposeful to absorb you? Yes, I have and I hear you do too! So, finding balance is a constant juggling act.

Here are some thoughts on each look and why balance is essential to our health and well-being.


One of the great occupational hazards of most professions, especially in service fields, is the tendency to give more and more. Whether the impetus is coming from an employer who offers extra pay for more hours or the not-so-subtle expectation to say yes to requests, or your own internal pressure to do more and more – you know you are in an unforgiving pattern.

It is important to recognize the impact being overly responsible has on your psyche and to understand your role in creating the dilemma. Is your health or family suffering from your choices? We are often guilty of creating our own prison, either by not setting boundaries or being too agreeable to others. Whatever consequences you fear need to be re-examined. Face your truth – Do you need to set boundaries or make a change to preserve your health or relationships? If you have consequences in either area, then it is time for action.  


The idea of having the freedom to live on your own terms has never been more compelling than it seems to be now. People are defining work in new ways and being creative in finding new forms of self-expression. This is wonderful if the freedom also includes being able to be responsible for yourself. If it doesn’t, notice the fallout created by others having to pick up the pieces.

There was a time when creative people had wealthy patrons to support their art or craft. Now it requires great social media and marketing skills to develop significant support. Notice if the desire for freedom is a form of running from a former painful experience or denial about what your actions are doing to others in your life. Face your truth – what is the consequence of too much freedom? 


If you are like a pendulum swinging from one end to another or stay fixed at one end for too long, you will likely be unhealthy physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually. It will not be long before you have consequences in health and relationships.

Balancing freedom and responsibility is an adult task that includes a few simple parameters. The key is blocking out time for each every day or at least regularly. Set limits on how long you will work and give yourself the freedom to let go to enjoy other things like family, friends, and your self-care habits.

I have certainly noticed how life becomes more joyful when you have an equal measure of each. Lee regularly declares we are going to have a “fun day”. Notice what can happen: The ease of balance liberates you to have the freedom to enjoy what has meaning to you. It can open an internal door to being more spiritually aware – you will notice how the divine runs through your life, adding to your sense of purpose. Responsibility can be a joyous act of exhilaration, excitement, creativity, collaboration, and even healthy competition. Your sense of self becomes strong and healthy with the responsibility you take and the boundaries you set. You are alive and purposeful with both freedom and responsibility.

Balancing freedom and responsibility require noticing where you are on the continuum. You can be overly responsible and neglectful of self-care or others or overly focused on expressing your freedom and neglecting responsibilities.

Balance of both means giving yourself time regularly to do both. Life is much more pleasurable when you do.

If you would like more balance in your life, reach out. My Transformational Coaching and Therapy is designed to create a healthy and purposeful life. Go to and use my free consultation form. I would love to hear from you.  




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