Destiny and Freedomlife-path-2-300x300.jpg

May (1981) defines Destiny as "the patterns of limits and talents that constitutes the "givens" in life" (p. 89). In simpler terms, it is the awareness an individual has of the limitations that are inherent to life (Messer & Gurman, 2011). May separated these limitations into four categories; Cosmic Destiny (limitations of nature e.g. flood and hurricanes), Genetic Destiny (limitations enforced by physiology e.g. lifespan), Cultural Destiny (limitations caused by societal/familial background e.g. inheritance), and Circumstantial destiny (present situational crises e.g. job loss) (Greenberg, Watson & Lietaer, 1998). These limitations create a set of possibilities that an individual must navigate with the use of destiny's counterpoint and counterpart; freedom.

Freedom is the capacity for individuals to act and influence their own personal development through exercising the ability of choice within the naturally and socially imposed limits of destiny (May, 1981). May presents two perspectives of Freedom; Existential Freedom, the ability to act and choose within the set of aforementioned limitations e.g. deciding to travel to work on the bus instead of driving with a car, and Essential Freedom, an inner sense of freedom that influences and stimulates existential freedom e.g. an environmentally friendly attitude can influence the decision to travel with a bus rather than a car (Hughes, 2011).

Destiny and Freedom are engaged in a symbiotic relationship. Destiny provides the limits that forces individuals to struggle for their freedom, to become creative in how they co-operate, engage and confront destiny in order to enhance freedom (Hughes, 2011). However, an individuals inability or unwillingness to do this can lead to dysfunction. Failure to acknowledge destiny can lead to a unhealthy attachment to possibilities which may lead to an individual showing signs of impulsivity or narcissism, whereas failure to acknowledge freedom can lead to a rigid devotion to limitations, and cause an individual to show signs of anxiety or obsessive - compulsiveness (May, 1981; Messer & Gurman, 2011).