All my life I have been holding myself back from being who I truly am. I had seen glimpses of this here and there, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I saw the entire picture. When the scales fell from my eyes, the truth became blindingly obvious.
What was not clear, however, was why I was holding myself back. Did this behavior originate from being trained as a child that it was wrong to out shine those around me? Or was I simply conditioned to believe that living compatibly is more important than living authentically?
Either way, holding myself back from expressing and acting on what I truly believe, think, feel and know has not been a good thing. It has not produced harmony in my life or in my being. Instead, it has wreaked havoc.
The destruction has been particularly evident in my body. That is not surprising since we truly do ‘embody’ our beliefs. Yet, it wasn’t until yesterday that I began to sense a strong correlation between my chronic health conditions and the chronic habit of holding myself back.
The tie is most evident when I reflect upon the constant pain I have lived with for the past 12 years. Although for a long time I attributed its onset to a repetitive strain on my physical body, I see now the cause may lie elsewhere. The real origin may be the strain of repetitively holding myself back.
When I don’t allow myself to be who I am, it can’t help but create an internal conflict. Living incongruently creates tension. It makes sense, then, that the dis-ease I feel in my being would naturally be manifested in my body. It would also explain why a resolution has evaded me for over a decade.
As I contemplate this very real possibility, it seems wise to consider the ways in which I hold myself back. A few that come to mind include my tendency to withhold my own pleasure, my reluctance to stand up for myself, and how quick I am to discount or delay my own dreams. The one that looms largest, though, is self-censorship.
In my desire to be validating and supportive toward other people, I find that I often hold back from expressing my true self. It seems I am hesitant to risk harming the relationship by being honest. Yet, real love is both honest and authentic. In fact, without those, there is no relationship. There is only a façade.
In my writing, too, I have fallen into the trap of offering a diluted version of myself. I’ve been trying to write with the aim of universal appeal, but I’ve got it all wrong. My writing, just like everything else, should be an honest expression of who I am and the wisdom of all my experiences and insight. If it isn’t, then I have nothing to offer anyone.
Now that I see this clearly, I want to allow myself to be myself. I want to stop holding myself back from living in the freedom of who I was created to be.
Perhaps that is what my pain has been trying to tell me all along. Perhaps it’s been there not to make me suffer, but to show me what I need to let go of in order to become fully alive.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela