“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.” ~ Emile Zola

There are just some days when we wake up and it is difficult to shift our thinking and behaviors. Seeing our human shadow can often cause a lot of shame, even when we might be more forgiving of the same in others. Developing compassion for ourselves is an important step in breaking free of self defeating thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. I often ask clients to try and translate the compassion they feel for their loved ones into compassion for themselves. However, it takes time to develop self compassion and in the meantime we are left vulnerable to self loathing.

 

Tolerance for the process can be hard to come by, especially if we are isolated. Being isolated clearly can arise from having a limited network or emotionally unsafe relationships, yet often isolation comes from an internal place- fear of breaking the silence and taking the risk to share our inner world with trusted companions.

 

In therapy, I often help clients identify what is keeping them silent. Common culprits are the fear of being rejected or misunderstood, the fear of confrontation, and deep seated habits of denying one’s own beliefs, intuitions, or experiences. Notice that fear and denial are powerful tools often wielded by authority figures to control others. If we are raised by adults who have difficulty appreciating a child’s perception or intuition, we learn to clamp down our authentic voice because our survival is based upon avoiding rejection and abandonment.

 

However, at some point most of us leave our childhood home, yet the old fears persist even when we create connections with others who do value our opinions. Exploring the origins of our silence is important because it can help raise awareness of how the present day dynamics reinforce or counteract our earlier experiences. Whether we are reproducing or breaking these earlier dynamics, change can only occur when we have become more mindful of our internal process. Then the tools of differentiating our thoughts and feelings can become more effective, allowing for greater choice in our actions, beliefs, and responses.

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