Claim Your Freedom

Adrian S. Potter
4 min readJul 2

Become as free as you want to be.

Photo by Kristina V on Unsplash

We are coming up on the 4th of July, so lately I have been thinking about freedom.

James Baldwin, the renowned African American writer & social critic, once eloquently said –

“Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are as free as they want to be.”


This straightforward statement encapsulates a profound truth about the nature of freedom and its relationship with individual agency and determination. His perspective on this topic is remarkable, considering that Baldwin left America to secure the autonomy he desired.

Let’s explore this quote’s significance and delve into its implications for personal and collective liberation.

External forces be damned.

Baldwin’s assertion challenges the prevailing notion that freedom is bestowed upon people by external forces.

Instead, he suggests it is a subjective experience that emerges from the innermost desires and actions of individuals. It is not a passive state that one can receive but an active process that one must engage in. In other words, freedom is not given or granted; it is conquered and claimed.

Don’t measure freedom on a physical basis.

To understand this idea further, recognize that freedom extends beyond the absence of physical constraints.

True independence resides within the human spirit, encompassing liberty of thought, expression, and self-determination. It is the ability to define one’s values, make choices, and live in accordance with one’s authentic self. This internal liberation is not contingent upon external circumstances but depends on a person’s willingness to seize it.

Relativity rules.

Baldwin’s quote also suggests that freedom is not an absolute state but a relative one, shaped by the limits people impose upon themselves.

It highlights the power of personal agency and the extent to which individuals are willing to push beyond the…

Adrian S. Potter

Antisocial Extrovert · Writer and Poet, Engineer, Consultant, Public Speaker · Writing about self-improvement, gratitude, and creativity ·