While perusing an event I’m hosting in a few weeks, I noticed that I quite frequently use the phrase “feel free” when inviting my guests to add their own options/opinions. When I think about it further, I realize that I use this phrase quite often, even with my kids. It just rolls off my tongue without a second thought, really. I certainly want my friends and family to be comfortable! Do you invite others to “feel free” too?
With so many activities completely planned and rigid in structure, I think it’s nice to offer my friends and family an option that I enjoy myself, to feel free. We are a fairly casual family. With five kids (most with special needs), that’s probably expected. We don’t stand on ceremony or insist on traditions that no one enjoys, though they are subject to my love of photos! As a result, our house isn’t terribly restrictive. Our family rules boil down to three expectations: Respect yourself and others, clean up after yourself, and be kind. We consider our home a community and all must take part to keep it functional. That said, I hope our home is a place of comfort and peace as well.
This probably stems from the fact that I consider myself a Free Spirit. I do not create long-term plans (rarely plan anything for that matter) or lofty goals. I am spontaneous at times, enjoy living in the moment, and thrive in an environment that gives me opportunities to blossom at my own pace and time. I prefer to have options and to decide for myself rather than follow strict rules. Just when you think you have me figured out, I’ll dye my hair pink and completely change my favorite hobby. I need the freedom to do that.
So, I often extend an invitation this way, “Here is our plan, but feel free to join us and do your own thing.” Feel free to bring something to our meal that you prefer. Feel free to be comfortable in this place, with us. I recognize that restrictions and rules are a necessary part of life and help keep everyone safe, but I think it’s refreshing to open the door once in a while and invite others to join you in their unique and special way. I am often pleasantly surprised by the result!