The Freedom To Feel – Lessons From Jim Morrison

The freedom to feel

The freedom to feel

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the freedom to feel and draw upon some words of wisdom by Jim Morrison.

First a quick update:

“Repression of one’s emotions leads to violence”
An interview that rock star Jim Morrison of the Doors gave to Lizzie James in 1969, reveals his thoughts about the fear that people have to express freedom and to be free.

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Now, let’s talk about the freedom to feel and draw upon some words of wisdom by Jim Morrison.

Almost two decades before the book “Feel the fear and do it anyway” by Susan Jeffers PhD became a best seller in 1987, lead singer of the Doors, Jim Morrison was promoting the same message:

“The only solution is to confront them – confront yourself – with the greatest fear imaginable. Expose yourself to your deepest fear. After that, fear has no power, and fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.”

In the 1969 interview with Lizzie James, Jim Morrison discusses and shares his philosophies on freedom.

One of the most meaningful points he makes is about distinguishing the types of freedom:

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your senses for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first. ….You can take away a man’s political freedom and you won’t hurt him – unless you take away his freedom to feel. That can destroy him.”

Lizzie James – ‘But how can anyone else have the power to take away from your freedom to feel?’

“Some people surrender their freedom willingly – but others are forced to surrender it. Imprisonment begins with birth. Society, parents – they refuse to allow you to keep the freedom you are born with. There are subtle ways to punish a person for daring to feel. You see that everyone around you has destroyed his true feeling nature. You imitate what you see…”

The same principle is a key message in the now classic novel “1984” by George Orwell, where it is forbidden to feel real emotions. (Read the closing pages when Winston and Julia meet again and he places his arm around her.)

Today, in so many ways, we are either afraid to feel, we suppress our feelings, we control our feelings or we simply choose only to reveal those feelings we believe will be accepted by society and even by our friends.

“A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is….Most people love you for who you pretend to be….To keep their love, you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretense…It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act – and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image – they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are.” – Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison reveals something that is truer today that it was in 1969:

“People cluster to TV, soap operas, movie, theatre, pop idols, and they have wild emotion over symbols. But in reality of their own lives, they’re emotionally dead.” – Jim Morrison

Here are some pointers to help you to establish and express the freedom to feel:

1. No limits
Beware of people who limit, confine or define what you feel or what they expect you to feel i.e. they expect you to be happy all of the time; they expect you to always be strong and confident; they expect you to be the rock or to be the opposite – the person in need.

2. You are allowed to feel whatever you feel
Accept that it is ok to feel everything. Contrary to the opinion of some so-called experts, it is ok to feel ‘negative’ emotions (sadness, pain, loss, anger, fear, resentment, jealousy, and so forth.) You cannot feel fully alive until you are willing to feel everything. When you suppress or deny those emotions, they transform into physical, mental and emotional illness, and they become blocks in your relationships. You can move through and past those emotions by accepting, acknowledging and observing them, then consciously deciding how you will respond to those emotions and for how you long you will sit in those emotions.

3. Take off the mask
What role do you play for your friends? What mask do you wear for them? You will never know your real friends nor will you experience real and authentic friendships and love until you choose to reveal all of yourself to the people in your life. Remember, if you are hiding your emotions and feelings because you fear being rejected by your friends, then are only friends to your mask and role you play.

4. Stop controlling others
How do you try to control the feelings of people around you? If you discourage or try to stop others from expressing their feelings, then you are doing the same to yourself and you are attracting people who will also reflect the fear to be real.

5. Find the right time
Understand that there are times and situations where it might not be appropriate to express those feelings i.e. choose real friends whom you can trust and determine whether or not the location and setting is the right place to express powerful emotions.

Finally, it makes sense that a pop/rock star such as Jim Morrison would be a voice for the freedom to feel, since we look up to and idolize pop and rock stars because we believe they have no fear to feel or to express themselves. After all, we idolize their perceived prowess and god-like powers to feel and do what they like. We idolize their authentic freedom.

And if you need help to break past fear and gain emotional strength, consider a one-on-one private session with me. Watch the video here.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

Facebook Comments



4 replies
  1. Avatar
    Patrick Wanis says:

    Dear Jennifer,
    you are right. I thought about the same thing as I was writing this article: “Will readers understand my point, or will they feel that it is stopping them from the freedom to feel?” My response is:
    1. There is a difference between the freedom to feel and the freedom to express; ideally we all want to feel and express ourselves whenever we want, but would it be appropriate to express anger or hurt or to scream everywhere at any time? If I feel distraught or betrayed by a friend, I might choose to resolve and discuss the matter in private.
    2. I agree we should not hold back or censor ourselves from our friends but I referred to selecting “real friends” i.e. those friends whom you can trust and whom will accept you completely. Let go of the other people from your life.
    3. Seek balance – feel and express yourself but also consider the setting so that you don’t end up being selfish and thoughtless or narcissistic. For example, a client of mine had a huge argument with his mother on the day of the wedding of his sister and it spoiled the wedding. In that case, it would have been better to wait until after the wedding to fully and freely express himself to his mother.
    4. There is a difference between a child who throws tantrums wherever he/she is and the mature adult who uses discretion to feel and fully express him/herself.

    I hope this clarifies what I intended to say. Please let me know.
    All the best,

  2. Avatar
    Jennifer Rodriguez says:


    This has been the most interesting blog post you have ever written. I have one question about it though. If there is a time or situation where it is not appropriate to express certain feelings, wouldn’t that be akin to censoring yourself? After all, if you shouldn’t be afraid to authentically express yourself at all times, how can there be a time or situation where it is not appropriate? That sounds like self-censorhip to me and giving up your freedom to feel. How do you respond to that?

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