By: Kelly Smales
Life Coach, CANADA
Have you ever been at a dinner party and had the need to burp or belch?
You know you would feel so much better if you just let it out but you wonder what people would think. You sit at the table, holding it in and the pressure builds and builds. You look around at your dinner companions and try to guess what their reactions will be.
Will they laugh at you? Will they judge you? Will you be embarrassed? You’re having trouble focusing on the conversation and starting to feel anxious.
Finally you can’t hold it in any longer so you burp. It feels great to no longer suppress this feeling. You excuse yourself and move on. Now you feel much better, are engaged in the conversation and enjoying yourself again. The reactions of your companions were nothing compared to what you imagined in your mind. Now you wish you would have let it out earlier when you didn’t feel as much pressure. This funny anecdote about burping demonstrates two perspectives. It describes the discomfort caused by trying to “hold in” a burp and the feeling of relief experienced when the burp is finally released.
What if the burp was instead a thought, or an idea or a dream? What do you think it does to a person when they try to stifle their true self?
People suppress their thoughts and ideas for many reasons. They may have a fear of being judged, embarrassed or worried about “getting in trouble”. They may have selfdoubt and feel they are not as “worthy” as others. Sometimes they feel if they share what is on their mind they may upset someone or make them feel uncomfortable. Regardless of the reason, it is disempowering to suppress your thoughts. It takes your focus and prevents you from living life fully. It stops you from learning and growing as a person and prevents you from sharing your gifts with the world.
“If you do not express your own original ideas, if you do not listen to your own being, you will have betrayed yourself.” Rollo May
Expression is empowering. To express how you feel about something or share your ideas feels great! It creates focus, joy and energy. The process of expressing yourself moves you forward. It is a creative process in the sense that when you express a thought, idea or dream you are not sure where it will take you. It will clear space for your next thought to grow. Expression takes many forms. Using words whether verbal or written is not the only way. Feelings can be expressed in many ways through the arts. You can express how you feel physically as well. There are endless possibilities! Expression is freedom.
Expression is freedom and empowerment.
Suppression is restriction and disempowerment
“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they chose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.” Wayne Dyer
This is a beautiful quote from Wayne Dyer. It shows if you love someone, you love them for who they are as a person. You love them for what is in their heart and what is in their soul. It also brings to mind unconditional support. You support this person to be proud of and express their authentic self. There is no judgement involved, only support and acceptance. You encourage their personal growth, self-love and happiness.
If this is how we treat people we love, why would we accept any less from ourselves? Why would we not love ourselves for who we are? Why would we not love ourselves for what is in our heart and in our soul? Why would we not give ourselves unconditional support? Why would we not be true to ourselves in expressing our authenticity? Why would we not encourage our personal growth, self-love and happiness through support and acceptance? Why would we judge ourselves and deny who we are? Why would we stifle our magnificence?
Sometimes it happens without us noticing and sometimes we hold back on purpose. You may have a relationship that seems to run more smoothly if you don’t say what is on your mind. You may be afraid of the unknown and if you share your thoughts, you may not be ready for what is next. You may have held back for so long that you no longer trust yourself and may not even know what your own feelings are. Regardless of the reason, you should applaud yourself for your strength because holding back is a very difficult thing to do. If you are strong enough to do that, then you are strong enough to love yourself and move towards empowerment by expressing yourself. We are either in a state of growth or decline. At first you may just hold back on a thought, then you start ignoring your ideas and next thing you know you may be totally rejecting your dreams. If your tendency to suppress is in a state of growth that means your tendency to express is in a state of decline. This also means that if your feelings of restriction and disempowerment are growing, then you guessed it… your feelings of freedom and empowerment are declining.
The good news is that it is possible to change the quality of your life by shifting your perspective from one of suppression and restriction to one of freedom and expression. Self awareness is the key to success when trying to make any positive change. It helps to become aware of the type of situations that cause you to hold back. Explore what you really want your behaviour or life to look like and chase that vision. Identifying anything that may prevent you from making these positive changes and being creative about how to work around them will contribute to your success.