“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind.”
– Marcus Garvey, 1937
Are you a slave? I sincerely hope not.
Sadly, millions are still literally physically and sexually slaves in 2022, from Libya to China to Venezuela.
But even if you’ve been blessed to escape this fate, you may be a mental slave.
Here’s how to tell if you’re mentally enslaved, and the key to open the prison gates.
10 ways to free your mind from mental slavery
1) Know your own worth
Most people know the line “emancipate yourself from mental slavery” from when Bob Marley sang it in his 1980 hit “Redemption Song.”
The line actually comes from Jamaican pan-African activist and black nationalist Marcus Garvey, who lived from 1887 to 1940.
Garvey’s thoughts and actions had an immense impact on black political consciousness and history, including later civil rights figures such as Malcolm X.
Garvey’s central message was straight to the point:
He wanted black people everywhere to be certain that the injustice they’d suffered under slavery and colonization didn’t define them.
He wanted them to win the battle in their own minds and know their own worth.
He also wanted Africans worldwide to understand that even getting out of physical slavery wouldn’t lead to success if they didn’t get out of a blaming mentality and remained stuck in the past.
Garvey called this mental slavery.
It’s the same for people of all ethnic backgrounds, albeit in a less visceral way.
If you think you’re not worth much and don’t have much power, you will be used and abused by others more determined or ruthless than you.
If you don’t live your own dream, you’ll live for someone else’s dream.
2) Don’t let anyone else write your story
Far too many of us are mentally imprisoned in beliefs that have been around since our early childhood.
These beliefs often center around being not good enough, being defined by our culture or job, or being a victim of injustice and tragedy.
You may truly believe and have proof that your story is true. After all, you’re the one who lived it and is still living it!
But who exactly wrote the script in that story? Who told you that you’re not good with relationships, that you’re lazy and a business failure, or that you’re special, strange, cool, or stupid?
Are you sure you were the one writing your own story or was it given to you by a number of people and social conditions? You simply must believe in yourself.
“The saddest state a person can reach is mental slavery.
They have already given up.
Everyday I counsel individuals and I wish I could make them believe in themselves, but I can’t.
They will have to remove the shackles for themselves. This is your life! Don’t let anyone else write your story.”
3) Win the victory inside yourself
Winning the victory inside yourself is all about focusing on what’s going wrong.
What is “locking” your mind currently and making you feel unable to let go?
- Feeling convinced that a certain ideology is true and anyone who opposes it is a bad person
- Committing yourself to the 9 to 5 rat race because it’s what society expects, even though it makes you feel like shit
- Hiding your identity and dreams because you are sure they won’t be accepted or celebrated by your friends and family
- Worrying that your own painful experiences are all your fault and that you’re a bad person or a failure
- Clinging to feel-good spiritual gurus who say they will tell you all the answers to life, even though your gut instinct tells you they’re exploiting you…
“You at this time can only be destroyed by yourselves, from within and not from without.
You have reached the point where the victory is to be won from within and can only be lost from within.”
4) The key to unlocking your mind
But how exactly do you do that? Meditation? Positive thinking? Maybe visualization and some shiny crystals?
The thing with spirituality is that it’s just like everything else in life: It can be manipulated.
Unfortunately, not all the gurus and experts that preach spirituality do so with our best interests at heart. Some take advantage to twist spirituality into something toxic – poisonous even.
I learned this from the shaman Rudá Iandé. With over 30 years of experience in the field, he’s seen and experienced it all.
From exhausting positivity to downright harmful spiritual practices, this free video he created tackles a range of toxic spirituality habits.
So what makes Rudá different from the rest? How do you know he’s not also one of the manipulators he warns against?
The answer is simple:
He promotes spiritual empowerment from within.
Click here to watch the free video and bust the spiritual myths you’ve bought for the truth.
Rather than tell you how you should practice spirituality, Rudá puts the focus solely onto you.
Essentially, he puts you back in the driver’s seat of your spiritual journey, which is absolutely key to freeing your mind from mental slavery.
5) Educate yourself
One of the best ways to free your mind from mental slavery is to educate yourself.
I’m not talking about going to Harvard or Yale, although you can do that if you get in and have the money or loans to pay for it…
I’m talking about learning on your own.
Read history, read spirituality, watch documentaries and most importantly, talk to other people and learn from their life experiences and beliefs.
Adopt a spirit of curiosity and explore, poke around and find out what’s going on and why in the world and right at home.
Far too many of us only want short sound-bytes or simple answers to questions that emotionally satisfy us. This makes it easier for exploitative interests to control our societies, economies and minds.
Don’t let them. Pursue knowledge.
“True emancipation from mental slavery can be achieved only by gaining new knowledge, insights, ideas and paradigms.
Although learning through entertainment is important, it is also very limited. Not every important idea you can make into a song, chant, or drama.
Not only are too many people slaves of entertainment, but they display a real distaste for reading and study.”
6) Don’t always believe your mind
One of the ironies about achieving real mental freedom is that you have to sometimes call out the lies of your mind to do so.
In order to be free in your mind, you sometimes have to be free of your mind.
What I mean here is that you can’t believe everything you think. I know that in my case I’ve changed strongly-held beliefs in various ways.
I’m not a moral relativist and I believe in right and wrong, despite the trend of society toward the opposite or towards fully subjectivizing most situations and ethics.
But I do think it’s absolutely true that many of us remain locked in our minds because we never step in someone else’s shoes or see the world through their eyes.
Even those we consider extremely wrong or deluded!
“Your ideas and beliefs are not the standard against which all things are measured.
While your beliefs are natural and obvious to you, others feel the same way about their own beliefs and judgments no matter how conflicting they may be with yours,” advises Debbie Hampton.
You might be surprised at what you find.
7) What’s your life story?
The truth is that many of us find it hard to unchain our minds because we’re dealing with situations in life, love, or our job that make us feel like shit.
If you’re like me, the idea of freeing your mind might even annoy you a bit.
Why should I free my mind if the world is still so messed up and full of propaganda, injustice and misinformation?
But the truth is it can turn everything around if you take this step-by-step.
So how can you overcome this feeling of being “stuck in a rut” and stuck going in circles inside your mind?
Well, you need more than just willpower, that’s for sure.
I learned about this from Life Journal, created by the highly-successful life coach and teacher Jeanette Brown.
You see, willpower only takes us so far…the key to transforming your life into something you’re passionate and enthusiastic about takes perseverance, a shift in mindset, and effective goal setting.
And while this might sound like a mighty task to undertake, thanks to Jeanette’s guidance, it’s been easier to do than I could have ever imagined.
Now, you may wonder what makes Jeanette’s course different from all the other personal development programs out there.
It all comes down to one thing:
Jeanette isn’t interested in being your life coach.
Instead, she wants YOU to take the reins in creating the life you’ve always dreamt of having.
So if you’re ready to stop dreaming and start living your best life, a life created on your terms, one which fulfills and satisfies you, don’t hesitate to check out Life Journal.
8) Choose your friends wisely
Having friends is great, right? I’ve always enjoyed times in my life when I’ve had friends.
At the same time, I noticed something about friends.
I noticed that far too many of us avoid friendships with people genuinely different than us. And you know what…That’s a shame.
Living in an echo chamber is just no fun.
Plus, if your friends are all basically on one team or one way of life, it ends up encouraging you to close your mind.
As the writer H.L. Mencken said:
“You can tell a man’s vices by his friends, his virtues by his enemies.”
9) The status quo is not your friend
One of the biggest ways to free your mind from mental slavery is to stop buying into the status quo.
This may vary depending where you’re from and your life situation. But the basic way to tell is this:
If you’re being chained down inside your mind and told who you have to be and what you have to do, then you’re probably a mental slave of some kind.
All of us are chained down in some way to expectations and routines. The key is to notice it and then take steps to meet people who are different and live lives that are different.
“Emancipate yourself from any damaging or debilitating status quo.
“We are all slaves, variously, to mortgages and monthly wage packets, to self-consciousness, to impostor syndrome, pessimism, anxiety over issues beyond our control, stultifying routines, domineering characters in our lives, even our social media personas.”
10) Whose rules?
Rules are part of life. The law of gravity, our need for oxygen and water.
Other rules are taken as true by most cultures: it’s wrong to steal, or it’s good to help the poor.
But this is not universally true, and many of us hold ethical beliefs that are not ours: they were given to us through social conditioning and peer pressure.
Think about whose rules you’re following.
Are they meaningful to your life? Even more importantly, are they true?
What will you do with your freedom?
Once you escape mental slavery, what’s next?
That’s the beauty of it:
It’s up to you.