IS Freedom Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose?

Freedom is just another word for losing a hand! :-)

“Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose!” I’ll bet that if you’re in the Baby Boomer generation, you have heard the preceding quote before. It is a line from a song written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster. The song, “Me And Bobby McGee” was a hit for singer Janis Joplin. Let’s investigate “freedom” and “free” as they relate to us, especially emotionally.

A flag that implies freedom?

If you are an American, then, most likely, you consider yourself to be a free person. Being free generally implies that you can do, within reason, what you want. You can choose where you want to live. Being free means you can come and go at will. You can live where you choose and you are free to choose what you do for a living. But, does having this kind of freedom really mean you are free? What about how you feel regarding the freedom? In other words, if you’re not emotionally free, then are you really free? I think you’re not!

So what is emotional freedom? First and foremost, I think you have to know whether you’re in control of your emotions, or your emotions are in control of you. If the latter is true, you’re not free, but if you are in control of your emotions, then perhaps, you’re emotionally free. I write, perhaps, because being in control of your emotions and then using that control to severely limit what you do in life, will most likely cause you to have less freedom. Wow, this is complex!

Judith Orloff, MD has a twenty-question test on her website designed to help determine if you are emotionally free. After taking the test and reflecting on how you emote, I think you will have a better understanding of your level of emotional freedom. Click here if you wish to see and/or take the test.

Emotional AND Free! :-)

As you read this, you might wonder if I think I’m emotionally free. The short and simple answer is NO! But, I think I’m now closer to emotional freedom than I was a few years ago. For example, on Dr. Orloff’s twenty-question test, I scored a 24. According to her explanation on how to interpret the score, I am at a moderate level of emotional freedom. I’m confident that if I would have taken the test a few years ago, my score would have been much lower. I know I need to improve on such things as, worrying about tomorrow’s to-do list, beating myself up for what has gone wrong and setting limits with people who drain my energy.

I’m doing what I want when I want to do it!

Looking at freedom as emotional freedom, perhaps it would be better to rephrase the beginning quote to:Emotional freedom is just another two words for nothing left to lose!” :-) Is it? I really don’t think so!  In the 80’s,  Dr. David Viscott, a popular psychiatrist in California, had his own call-in radio show and television show called, Getting in Touch with Dr. David Viscott. He is reported to have said that emotional freedom is just two words that means you can do what you want when you want to do it. Using Dr. Viscott’s meaning for emotional freedom, leads me to believing that I’m emotionally free when I’m free to believe in myself AND when I feel free to make the most of it.

Doing what you want when you want to do it,” implies that you choose freely. Choose freely has been a special principle in my life. I have, for a long time, believed that everyone should “Choose freely, live creatively, and think critically.”  The previous quote is from John Chafee’s book, “The Thinker’s Way.” I did a post in August of 2009, where I explained the meaning of the quote, from my point of view. For this post, choose freely seems to be a nice way of responding to Dr. Viscott’s emotional freedom meaning.

When you do what you want when you want to do it, then you should choose freely! But, choosing freely means you are choosing AND accepting the responsibility of your choice. Feel free to express your emotions, BUT be responsible for the consequences of doing so. Irresponsible freedom leads to trouble and responsibility without freedom results in feeling displeasure and/or resentment. So, freedom and responsibility should go hand-in-hand. At least, that’s how I see it!

Did you know that “Me And Bobby McGee” was Janis Joplin’s only top ten hit?

Here’s the chorus verse to Me And Bobby McGee as sung by Janis Joplin:

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,

Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free, now now.

And feeling good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues,

You know feeling good was good enough for me,

Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.

Consider the second line – “Nothing don’t mean nothing honey if it ain’t free.” Does this possibly mean: “Emotional freedom doesn’t mean anything if it you aren’t free to do what you want when you want to do it?”??

What do you think, “IS (physical, mental, emotional, etc.) freedom just another word for nothing left to lose?” :-)

Feel free to comment. :-)

2 Comments on “IS Freedom Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose?”

  1. Interestingly these words have come up a couple times recently. And I wrote about this idea in July 2012 at For me, Kristofferson’s words mean that, real freedom is in the mind, and once you have that, then no one can take anything from you, you have true freedom and, nothing to lose. Viktor Frankl (Man’s Search For Meaning) said that the prisoners in WWII concentration camps that faired the best were the ones who knew this. Physical freedom is nothing without the mental, but emotional freedom is imperative to being truly free. Remember the next part of the song, that “nothing ain’t nothing if it ain’t free”–no physical thing counts for much without real freedom.


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