What does it mean to be a free spirit? To most people, a free spirit is the epitome of Dustin Hoffman, and Barbara Streisand’s role in the motion picture (2004) Meet the Fockers. Ben Stiller’s eccentric, hippie going, ganja smoking, vegan parents stereotyped as the free-spirited.
As a result, the term is accompanied by derogatory or condescending undertones. Furthermore, society in general views “free spirits” as those who do not follow social norms or expectations. The free spirit is then stereotyped as someone who does not seek to be accepted by the public, society or any social group and is not looking to fit in but rather fit-out.
This is the understanding of a free spirit that society has conjured to explain the behaviour of those who genuinely find enjoyment in all things they do, else they wouldn’t do them.
Let’s set the record straight.
Free spirits do not need to have an unconventional lifestyle, and we do not seek to be outcasts. Free-spirits does not go against the norms of social behaviour in an attempt to “fit-out.” We say please, thank you and sorry. We shake hands when it’s appropriate to do so.
We don’t pass gas and not excuse ourselves unless, of course, it is the proper etiquette of the culture. Not all of us have a vegan diet, daily yoga or meditative routine. (If you do, that’s great all the power to you!) Nor are we the reefer smoking, orgy going outcasts we are presumed to be.
It’s time to drop the labels and remove the stereotypes because “free spirits” do not belong to any of them. An attempt to fit free spirits into a specific mould causes us to be herded, sorted and grouped.
Free spirits are you, and free spirits are me. A free spirit is just that, free. Free to be who they want to be to do what they want to do.“Free to sail the seven seas, free to worship as we please, if the birds up in the trees can be free, why can’t we?”.- Bing Crosby.
Yet, if you must define a free spirit, start with “a person who does what they want with enjoyment and pleasure”. And stop right there.
The term free spirit should always be accompanied by the undertones of love and compassion. Free spirits should always follow the compass of their hearts; A free spirit should always think of others in everything they do.