What is a free spirit? And how do you tell a free-spirited person from one who is simply careless, thoughtless, or impulsive?
True free spirits get that a lot. Too many people assume that if you’re free-spirited, you’re an immature, flighty little airhead who leaves chaos in your wake and doesn’t care how their actions affect others.
The truth behind the free-spirited personality is completely different — and way more interesting.
What is a free spirit?
A free spirit is one who is independent and uninhibited. They march to the beat of their own drum and don't always play by the rules.
You often see children who are free-spirited — able to embrace life fully and be themselves without shame or embarrassment.
As an adult, the free spirit has had to overcome family and societal pressures to retain that childhood state. They have reached a level of maturity that frees them from the fear of not conforming to other people’s expectations.
Not only do they not feel compelled to do what others around them are doing (according to “established wisdom”), but they also don’t worry about the consequences of flouting those expectations.
How great is that, right? Now you know why the word “free” is in there.
But what are the signs of a free spirit?
- What is a free spirit?
- 15 Free Spirit Characteristics
- 1. You think, act, and make decisions without needing approval.
- 2. You trust yourself and live fearlessly.
- 3. You’re authentic, bold, and spontaneous.
- 4. You’re not afraid to fight for what matters to you.
- 5. You don’t speak the language of attachment.
- 6. You see and appreciate the little things in life.
- 7. You find inspiration for your thoughts and actions in the everyday.
- 8. You often operate in a flow state and lose track of time.
- 9. You prioritize experiences over material things.
- 10. Your style is completely your own.
- 11. You're a problem-solver.
- 12. You're not intimidated by authority figures.
- 13. You have a wide array of friends.
- 14. You make some people uncomfortable.
- 15. You love life.
- How to Become a Free Spirit
- Examples of Free-Spirited People
15 Free Spirit Characteristics
Wondering how to be a free spirit or if you are one already? Once you get acquainted with the seven free spirit personality traits, you can decide whether you want to cultivate those traits in yourself. Because it’s possible.
And while the personality you're born with may help or hinder the development of free spirit traits, ultimately, your success depends on building the right habits. Here's how to know if you're a free spirit.
1. You think, act, and make decisions without needing approval.
You don’t need others to tell you what you should do or how you should think. And you sure don’t need to ask anyone’s permission or get their approval before you make a decision.
Sure, some will think you act without thinking. Some will wonder why you don’t ask for advice before you make a decision that could affect you for the rest of your life.
It’s not as though you never ask for anyone’s advice, though. You just don’t feel the need to make that advice your guiding principle.
It only seems as though you acted without thinking because no one realizes how much thinking you put into it before you hit the “Yes” button. But sometimes, you just go with your gut.
If only the brain could keep up.
2. You trust yourself and live fearlessly.
You trust yourself, because you trust your gut — your intuition. You’ve learned to trust it, even when others asked you to put more (conscious) thought into it.
But you know, by now, that conscious thought is still putting its shoes on when intuition is crossing the finish line. And you’ve learned, from experience, to listen to that inner voice.
From an outside perspective, you’re acting without due discretion. But from your perspective, your intuition has taught you to live without fear and to go after what you want, regardless of what people think.
And you really don’t worry about what people think. If they choose to hold you in contempt for not doing what they would do, that’s their business.
You have better things to do with your time and energy than to dwell on the past.
3. You’re authentic, bold, and spontaneous.
You’re a deeply sincere person — no fakery in that sunlit mind of yours. There’s no room for pretense or for false bravado. You’re not out to impress anyone, anyway.
Those who know you trust your authenticity. They also know you’re full of surprises.
One minute you’re savoring a favorite meal or drink (more than most people enjoy their favorite things). And the next . . . who knows? You don’t even know.
When inspiration hits, and it feels right to you, you’re all in. And you don’t go halfway, either.
With that spontaneity comes a full measure of boldness and joy. You don’t apologize for the way you are, nor do you expect apologies from anyone else.
Life is too short and rich to waste time dwelling on pointless arguments.
4. You’re not afraid to fight for what matters to you.
You know what’s worth fighting for, and you’re not afraid to stick your neck out and fight for it — even at the risk of offending those who’d rather stay in their comfort zones.
You’ll spring into action to confront a bully, and you’ll lend your voice to strengthen someone else’s or to further a cause worth supporting.
If something matters to you, you’re not ashamed to let people know that, even if their preconceived notions prevent them from taking it seriously.
Your conviction and purposeful action make up for the silence of the majority.
And if you can get more people on the front lines with you — not by forcing but by inspiring them — so much the better.
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5. You don’t speak the language of attachment.
You don’t depend on others to feel loved or to feel that your life matters.
You know you are the way you are for a reason, and putting more good into the world matters more to you than whether you’ve got someone in your life who adores you.
Plenty of people will be attracted to you, because your free-spirited personality is magnetic and has a brightening effect on the world around you.
But you don’t need someone else’s admiration to know your worth.
6. You see and appreciate the little things in life.
You don’t overlook your blessings — from the smallest to the greatest — or take them for granted. You notice things that, to most others, are “just part of the scenery.”
You wonder how so many people can fail to see the little things that make every day special to you. No day is perfect, but little things make for perfect moments.
And you’re predisposed to making the most of every one of them.
A perfect day, for you, doesn’t go according to a preconceived schedule or idea of what should happen and when. But it might begin with a chance to savor your morning and enjoy more of the good things already in it.
7. You find inspiration for your thoughts and actions in the everyday.
You’re good at thinking on your feet, because you find inspiration for your thoughts and actions literally everywhere you go.
Even cornered, you find a way out of the trap and into a better place than before.
Your native ingenuity comes out when you need it. As far as others are concerned, you pull the most unusual (and surprisingly effective) solutions out of your lungs with every breath.
Maybe you credit the universe for those ideas. Or maybe you think anyone could do as you do if they’d just stop letting fear get in the way. You know not everything you blurt out is inspired by the wisdom of the gods.
But enough of it makes other people wonder just what your secret is.
8. You often operate in a flow state and lose track of time.
Your unharnessed nature allows you to focus on the here and now without too much concern about time, deadlines, and to-do lists.
You easily get into a flow state in which you are so engaged and focused on what you are doing that time tends to disappear.
Because societal rules and expectations aren't as important to you, you have more mental and emotional bandwidth to immerse yourself in the things you love to do.
9. You prioritize experiences over material things.
It's not that you don't like material things, but if you have to choose where to spend your money and your time, experiences trump stuff every time.
While your peers might be working to buy that new sports car or put a downpayment on a house, you'll drive your beater forever as long as it gets you to your next adventure.
The material things that matter to you most are likely related to enhancing your experiences — like a nice camera, a great bike, or top-of-the-line hiking boots.
10. Your style is completely your own.
You've never followed the latest fashion trends so much. In fact, you define your own fashion style — whether it's no style at all or a wildly creative mix that could launch a new trend.
What other people think of your attire or look is completely irrelevant to you. You dress and wear your hair the way you do because it's an outward expression of your authentic self.
A free-spirited woman is completely confident in her fashion choices (or lack thereof), and rarely buys clothes to impress others. The same is true of a free-spirited man — he's more likely to throw on clothes for utility and comfort.
11. You're a problem-solver.
Because you don't need the approval of others and do things your own way, you've had to learn to manage challenges and roadblocks by yourself.
It's not that you won't accept help from others, but far too often, your problem-solving methods and those of others don't mesh. So you'd rather figure it out on your own.
Your mix of creativity and independence gives you a leg up when it comes to finding solutions. You're motivated and focused to move past problems so you can continue to enjoy the life you've defined for yourself.
12. You're not intimidated by authority figures.
You may view people in authority as roadblocks to reaching your dreams. Hearing the words, “You can't do that,” makes you even more determined to say, “Just watch me.”
You're not a law-breaker or a complete renegade, but you've learned how to massage situations so you don't lose your job or get in too much trouble while you do what you want to do.
You've likely honed your skills of influencing those in authority and guiding them to see things from your perspective. Or you've figured out how to work around them without causing too much of a stir.
13. You have a wide array of friends.
You don't hang out with cookie-cutter friends who have the same opinions, attitudes, beliefs, lifestyles, and looks as one another.
Your friend list includes people from all walks of life with differing backgrounds, careers, and interests. But the one thing they all have in common? They are interesting and smart and ignite various parts of your creative mind.
They are also accepting and non-judgmental — because you'd accept nothing less from any of your friends.
14. You make some people uncomfortable.
Of course you do. Because most people don't share your carefree nature. You may have family members, work associates, or even old friends who keep asking you to rein it in. Whatever the “it” is that's making them uncomfortable.
But you've learned to accept this and understand it comes with the territory of being who you are. You may have been offended once, but now you just smile and brush it off.
Either they will accept you as you are, or they won't. You aren't so attached to the outcome that you're willing to be inauthentic to appease them.
15. You love life.
Sure, you have hard times and drama in your life, just like everyone. But you wouldn't trade your life for anyone else's. You love being who you are and doing things your own way.
And you love life in general. It's incredible to have so many opportunities to explore, learn, and be who you are. You know how to seize the day and make the most of it because, on some level, you understand the brevity of life.
You're not going to wait around for some imagined “best time” or ask for permission and hope you get it. You choose to live life to the fullest on your own terms because, in the end, you never want to look back with regrets.
How to Become a Free Spirit
Is being a free spirit a good thing? If you can handle the inevitable push-back from some people around you, it can be a liberating way to live. Take the following actions to become the free-spirited person you’ve always wanted to be.
Find your reason for becoming a free spirit.
Make sure it’s a reason that connects with your core values and makes you feel 100% true to yourself. Make sure you’re doing this for you and not to become the person someone else wants you to be.
Be honest with yourself.
Stop telling yourself you need someone else’s love or attention in order to thrive or to be happy. Be honest about relationships that are limiting your growth, and be willing to break free of toxic people.
Connect with your inner wisdom.
The more connected you are to your intuition, and the more you trust it, the more you come to rely on it — and the less you feel the need to please other people in order to feel validated.
Move past the fear.
When you feel afraid to make a move, acknowledge the fear. Allow yourself to recognize the reason for it. Then tell your fear that it’s going to have to take a back seat from now on. Your unencumbered spirit is at the wheel.
Practice mindfulness on a daily basis.
Examples of Free-Spirited People
Here are some examples of free spirits — both real and fictional:
Are you are a free spirit?
Now that you know more about free spirit characteristics, can you think of someone in your life who models them for you?
Or are you a free spirit yourself?
Maybe you have some of the traits but want to strengthen those and cultivate the rest. You want to be more of a free spirit, and you’re ready to take on the action steps listed above.
You’re a free spirit at your core. You just need to remove some of the baggage that has held you back. And if you want to badly enough, you can and you will.
Just remember to develop your free spirit self in a way that respects your own personal path and core values. No one else can tell you how your life as a free spirit should look.
You know your soul better than most. Trust yourself.