Have you ever felt afraid to say what you really think? Most of us have been in situations in which we have held back our truths, times when we have hidden aspects of who we are. Sometimes this is protective and can help keep us safe in dangerous circumstances. Why share something vulnerable with a cruel audience? But, what is the cost of chronically side-stepping what is real and authentic in us? What is the cost of hiding?
I think the only one who know the cost of your hiding is you. Just as the only one who knows the cost of my hiding is me. However, it feels true to say that we all lose important parts of ourselves when we hold back in these ways as habitual, fixed behavior. When we hide our truths, we cultivate doubt rather than confidence. We support self-criticism and inner alienation rather than appreciation, celebration, and love of our unique way of being.
By now, we have all heard many stories of how we should be. We have all heard many versions of what is not good enough in us, of the ways we have fallen short in the eyes of our culture or in the eyes of specific people in our lives.
My question to you, is when we gift away to others the permission to define who we are or to calculate our worthiness, our competence, or our value, what do we lose? I think, among other things, we lose touch in some way with our solidarity, our own inner right to know and support ourselves.
Yes, feedback can be very helpful; given with kindness, and without the murkiness of someone else's agenda or reactivity, it can help us grow. But so often we are given feedback that is a projection of someone else's unconscious narratives, projections, or undigested hurts.
When we have heard volumes about our inadequacies, we may feel very afraid of speaking. We may doubt we know our own truth at all.
So, I encourage you to take back the inner throne. I encourage you to reclaim your center of inner authority, of inner wisdom. How?
I suggest starting in creativity (which we all have, as living beings) - start with writing, or image making, or moving. Start with a theme, like, the inner temple, the inner throne, inner wisdom, the voice inside, the sacred inner circle, etc. I'm suggesting taking time, regularly, to cultivate an intentional relationship with the center of your human being. You are, actually, your own authority on your life. No one else has spent more time with you than you have; no one knows the inner story of your experience but you. This is truth. Take time to listen in there. Make space and time, and creative, supportive ritual, for creating relationship with the sacred place inside you. This is the place of your truth, your wisdom, your voice. Usually, this place inside is a lover of solitude, quietude, spacious music, and breath, of fresh air, and bird song. This is a place of Soul, beyond compression, constriction, and wounding. This is a place inside that you can court. You can develop a deep relationship with this inner place of knowing, feeling, and sensing. This inner temple can be a powerful compass for living.
It's totally okay if you do not really know this place inside right now. Just take a moment to exhale all the air from your body, in this moment, and as you exhale land your body weight into the earth. Let your jaw land into gravity, your sitting bones, your legs. Take a moment to inhale - into the belly if you can - then exhale again; find the soles of your feet on the ground, and lengthen your spine. Breath again. And again. Exhale all the way out. Listen to the sounds in the room and outside. Take a moment to really listen.... See the colors and shapes around you. Breathe some more. Feel a sensation in your body as your breath moves you. Lungs and ribs expanding. Air rushing out from your mouth or nose. And try this on: with each exhalation, now, speak inside you the words: I am. I am. exhale all the way out. I am. Feel your relationship with gravity, the support of the sturdy earth beneath you, and your spine traveling from earth to sky. Breathe into your belly, and exhale all the way out. And again.
"Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.
In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.
And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am."