I am a woman, and I know that deep down, we are all wild and free. It’s just that society has taught us to be other than how we truly want to be. But breaking out of those chains is the most liberating thing you can do for yourself.
So let’s explore what it means to be wild and free as a woman so that you can take your first steps in becoming the person you want to be!
Social Conditioning vs. Being “Wild”
Social conditioning encompasses the way our social interactions mold us. It’s how we learn to be self-conscious and behave differently around different people. Social conditioning is also responsible for how we see ourselves in the world, what we think is attractive and acceptable, and what we buy – even down to what we order at a restaurant.
The advertising world is full of examples of social conditioning; it’s one of the most effective ways marketers have found to convince people to spend money on products they didn’t even know they needed until they saw an ad for them. Slogans like “Diamonds are forever,” or “Just Do It” are all designed with this idea in mind: convincing you that you are lacking something and need to buy a product to be complete.
You may be asking yourself how this is related to being wild and free as a woman. Well, once we no longer give society’s conditioning power over us, then we can be truly free- even from the influence of marketing! We won’t be led astray by the new beauty product or be tricked into buying something we don’t need just because everyone else seems to be doing it.
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Wild and Free Human Desires and Instincts
The instincts detailed below refer to our primitive, natural drives as human beings: what does the body want?
Human Desire #1: Food
We were born with this desire to be nourished, and it’s a desire that transcends all cultures. Food is the first thing that is always needed, and it’s the one pleasure nearly everyone can enjoy.
Human Desire #2: Sex
This primal impulse is also at the root of our sexual desires – no matter what type of sexuality we identify with. We all have an innate need to be desired and appreciated for who we are as individuals – this is perfectly natural to want connection and for sex to feel good.
Human Instincts #1: Compassion
Compassion is that feeling we get when we look at a baby or see a puppy. We want to take care of it. This reaction is a natural instinct for humans! And it’s not just limited to babies and puppies – anyone who is defenseless or in a condition of need can be the object of our compassion.
Self-compassion has become the subject of many Buddhist teachings, and it allows us to treat ourselves with gentleness and nourish ourselves in the ways we need.
Human Instincts #2: Emotions
Once we embrace our instincts, then we can be free to be more emotional beings. Emotions are the root of who we really are, and they provide us with a direct connection to our inner selves.
Emotionally repressed women have no idea how much power their feelings actually hold or how beautiful it is when these emotions come out in healthy ways – like dancing around wildly because you’re feeling so happy, or crying when you are sad because accepting these emotions is the only way to be relieved of that pain.
Emotions can sometimes be terrifying and overwhelming, like when we feel anger after being mistreated by someone else. Still, just as with any other intense feelings, we must feel them to heal from them. It’s counter-intuitive, but you can be calm and at peace with yourself when your emotions are running high.
This doesn’t mean that we will be ruled by our feelings either; it just means learning to listen to them to understand who they make us be as individuals.
Human Instincts #3: Be One with Nature
Another instinct to embrace as someone who is wild and free is the desire to be in nature and understand it. To a “civilized” society, nature is chaotic. It has no order and can be difficult to understand; therefore, it is a threat.
But nature is one of the truly beautiful things that we have on this earth. It helps us develop compassion and empathy for animals, use the land inappropriate ways, and even helps us practice gratitude.
Why “Civilized” Society Suppresses These Desires and Instincts
If you notice anything about the list above, these may be all taboo or touchy subjects.
People who eat too much or eat in an unappealing way are seen as repulsive. We have a huge problem in our society with fat-shaming and body-shaming. Think about it: we have many words and phrases for overweight people, especially women. “Cow.” “Beached whale.”
Sex is another one that is frowned upon. It’s taught through books, movies, religion, and many other ways that women aren’t supposed to enjoy sex, and they certainly aren’t supposed to have a lot of it. “Slut.” “Whore.”
And although compassion, emotions, and nature (feminine traits) don’t evoke quite the same repulsion as food and sex, they are also viewed as lesser than strength, rational thought, and order (masculine traits). We’re being conditioned to view our feminine traits as inferior.
This speaks to the inherent belief system of the white Christian patriarchy: that (white) men should to rule the world, and women (and other indigenous cultures that practice more feminine traits) are inferior. They should suppress their natural desires and instincts.
Are you infuriated yet? I am!
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What “Wild and Free” Isn’t
Keep in mind that it’s easy to think that being wild and free means that you’ve swung to the complete opposite side of the scale. You eat whatever you want, have as much sex as you want, maybe do some drugs, and don’t care about anything!
(For those of you who have read Kasia Urbaniak’s A Woman’s Guide to Power Unbound, this is the “Bad Girl.”)
I once saw a GIF that read:
The term “domestic housewife” implies that there is also a “feral housewife,” and now I have a new life goal!
As funny as it may be, this isn’t the truth at all!
Swinging to the opposite side is just as much a product of our conditioning as being fully domesticated. Being “feral” is associated with just as much pain and discomfort as being constrained by the patriarchy. We’re just taking out our frustration in unhealthy ways that can potentially harm ourselves and others. (Think: Janis Joplin, Marilyn Monroe, etc.)
How to Be Wild and Free: 9 Ways
To truly be wild and free, we must embrace our instinctual desires and not be afraid of being judged by others. We achieve this by releasing our social conditioning and learning to embrace our natural feelings of who we are with gentleness and compassion. This is what it means to be wild and free.
So how do you become this person? It’s not something that you can learn overnight, but I will give you some advice on where to start:
1) Notice tension in your body
It has been said that our bodies carry all the trauma that our brains and hearts are suppressing. Whenever we have tension in our bodies, it is because something is not in balance.
And often, tension or stress is a symptom of conflict within us. We might be feeling like we want to go back to college to change careers, but we know we need to provide for our children. Or it could be something as small as wanting to have that piece of candy but knowing that we “shouldn’t.”
Tension is something that calls on us to examine the “shoulds” in our life. Are you telling yourself that you’re supposed to do something because someone else told you to? When we notice and resolve that bodily tension, we are helping ourselves to be wild and free.
2) Notice your “spidey-sense.”
Another part of your instincts that may not be so obvious is that little part of you thinks something is wrong when you rationally seem completely safe. It may be that there’s a man who is cracking inappropriate jokes, or there could be a real threat to your safety lurking around the corner.
It may be the traditional “hairs on the back of your neck going up” kind of feeling, or it could be a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. But listening to these instincts can help you stay safe, both mentally and physically.
This feeling can also apply to when you want to pursue something for pleasure or fun. When your body is saying to be spontaneous and go for something, as long as you feel safe, as someone who is wild and free, you can follow this urge.
3) Be more present
Learning to be more present is essential to both of those things above. When we’re in our heads, thinking, dreaming, planning, talking to ourselves, we’re more likely to be oblivious to our inner instincts.
Meditation is a great way to learn how to be present in your body and the moment. Mindfulness, intention, and awareness are all ways that you can be more present.
The additional thing about living in the present moment is that we’re more likely to notice the joy around us! This, in turn, can inspire us to be creative, enjoy ourselves more, and feel gratitude for our lives.
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4) Get curious
Curiosity is a natural sign of a wild woman. And once again, curiosity gets a bad rap. “Curiosity killed the cat,” for one.
But curiosity is what drives innovation, science, and art. We learn to wonder, think, feel, and observe. Curiosity is an essential, natural instinct for all human beings.
To become naturally more curious, use the words “I wonder.”
I wonder what kind of bird that is.
I wonder what Shakespeare would have written if he lived today instead.
I wonder why Pikachu is yellow.
It doesn’t have to be profound or invoke major epiphanies. You’re just getting your creative juices flowing and connecting with the world around you.
5) Be gentle with yourself and others.
As stated above, the compassion and gentleness that we automatically embody when we encounter a baby or a puppy is something we should have toward every human being.
Start with yourself. When you find yourself being judgmental, tell yourself it’s okay and examine how you’re really feeling. If you fail to step in when someone says something appropriate, don’t feel guilty. Use it as motivation to learn some good phrases to say to bullies so that you have something on the ready.
And once you can have some self-compassion, then extend it to others. When you notice others being hard on themselves, be understanding. Listen. Give them soul nourishment if they’re in a difficult place.
When you’re experienced at being compassionate, you can also start to learn to be compassionate toward the bully.
6) Get out into nature.
Nature is another important component of being wild and free. The natural world gives us the perfect example of what happens when we listen to our instincts. The water is clean, animal numbers are balanced, the forests are green, and everything lives in the cycle.
These seasons of nature also reflect in the seasons of our lives and the seasons of our souls. There is a sacred symbol used by the Zia nation in the American Southwest. You might recognize it as the symbol used on the New Mexico state flag*. There are four sets of four spokes around a circle, and it looks like a sun. Here’s what they symbolize:Embed from Getty Images
- 4 Seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
- 4 Phases of Life: Infancy, Youth, Adulthood, Old Age
- 4 Cardinal Directions: North, East, South, West
- 4 Phases of a Day: Dawn, Daylight, Dusk, Dark
Our natural world has patterns and cycles everywhere we look. Our lives should reflect this.
*New Mexico was never permitted to use the Zia symbol on the state flag. This is cultural appropriation.
7) Notice when you judge or shame
We aren’t wild and free when we expect others to be a certain way or issue judgment their way.
When you notice yourself being judgmental, be gentle with your own heart. Being judgmental is a good opportunity, to be honest about how we feel and take the time to understand why.
It might be that person’s choices are different because their life path is different from yours. Or maybe they’ve lived through something traumatic or have been abused in some way. Or maybe this is a trigger for your memories of pain that you haven’t dealt with yet.
Instead, lend an ear. Lend a hand.
8) View opinions as reflections of one’s journey
First, be aware of the difference between facts and opinions. Facts are things that we can prove to be true, like “the sky is blue,” “the earth is round.” Opinions are feelings or ideas that are based on one’s point of view.
It’s easy to immediately be offended by someone’s opinion when you subscribe to the rules of the patriarchy, where everything is either right or wrong, left or right, good or bad.
But people who are free from social conditioning tend to view opinions as more objective and fluid. They know that everyone is on a different journey on this earth and may be at a different point in their journey. It’s not someone’s job to immediately offer advice or tell someone why they’re wrong or bad.
9) Enjoy sex and food while being healthy.
There’s a healthy balance to be struck with our needs.
For many women, the path to be wild and free means learning how to nourish ourselves. We need touch; we need affection; we need sex; we need food; we need to feel like we have a purpose. Of course, we do not want to deprive ourselves of these things, or we will feel that something is missing in our lives.
To be wild and free, we have to enjoy touch, sex, food, whatever it is that brings us joy in life! This doesn’t mean over-indulge or be a glutton, though; this means to nourish ourselves in healthy quantities with the things that make us feel good without guilt and shame about it.
We are free, we are wild, and that’s how it should be!
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This is what it means to be wild and free. Learning how to be wild and free can take some time. Undoing the conditioning that society has woven into us since our infancy is no easy feat.
But the more we practice these nine principles, the more we can learn to truly embrace our wild, feminine sides! And it doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man, we all need a little wildness in our lives!
What kinds of ways are you wild and free in your life?
Drop a comment below!
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