I used to think a of of things that now seem absurd to me. One of those things was actually an unconscious thought; a thought I didn’t realise I had until the mirror of introspection was angled just right for me to see myself in it. And when I did I saw that I thought it ok to suppress me.
When I say “suppress” I mean it in every sense of the word – to keep in or repress; to put an end to the activities of; to do away with – every sense of the word. I not only thought it was ok to suppress me, I consciously and unconsciously engaged in self-suppression. Now you might be wondering how on earth could someone suppress their own self? Doesn’t the self just “BE”? I would argue that it doesn’t. The self tries to just “BE” and, if left alone, it does a masterful job of it. But it is possible (and a lot easier than one may realise) for the self to be guided (or misguided rather), scolded and forced to BE something/someone else.
Like in my case – I was raised to be seen and not heard. Matter of fact my grandmother would have me recite that before we left the house for an outing – “children should be seen and not heard”. Of course she wasn’t trying to suppress my self, not consciously anyway; she wanted to ensure that her grandchild would be “well behaved” in front of other people and so she did with me what in all probability was done with her. But imagine the message the self receives when the mouth says “you should be seen and not heard”, especially the child self that has neither filter nor experienced reasoning to know what should be taken seriously and what should be ignored. My child self got the message that me – my ideas and thoughts and just anything within me that I might think to share – should be quiet, silenced. I got the message that it wasn’t ok to just talk… that the sound of my own voice even was only acceptable in soft tones. To this day I usually speak with a low tone and almost always hear “huh?”, “what did you say?”, “can you speak up please?”. I believe that’s, in part, due to the self-suppression that started in childhood and grew, unchecked, into adulthood.
And when I say it grew I don’t mean in just the “don’t speak” manifestation. It grew a sense of boundless freedom to waft into every other area of my Me-ness and settled in until self-suppression was everywhere; I suppressed my creativity; I suppressed my interests; I suppressed, ultimately, the awareness of my ME so that when needing to make a decision that presented itself as “what do you think…” or “what do you want…?” the most honest answer I could give was “I don’t know”. ME totally hidden and shadowed to the point where I was merely a mirror for others around me who hadn’t engaged in similar self suppression (or at least not to the extent I had).
And the major take-away of this for me has been the innerstanding that suppression births two people every time. Suppression’s first born is LIAR and her sibling is THIEF and, once born, they become your closest companions. Now I’m not saying you will outright lie to your friends or steal from your family with suppression ruling your head but you will, in the process of suppressing, lie to you (first) about who you are and why you are and then, inevitably, your suppressed, liar self, will steal the joy, blessing, unique only-you-could-bring-this-piece-of-the-puzzle-ness from your life and the lives you’ve been divinely positioned to touch.
Imagine folks being in your life 10, 20, 30 years knowing only the suppressed you and needing, yearning (consciously or unconsciously) for something – a word, a touch, a kick in the ass, any number of somethings, that only totally-free-to-be-you could give… and just existing, stuck or stagnant in some small or not small way because YOU haven’t shown up yet. What a theft! What a loss!
Now I could go on for a minute and a mile on the impact this has had on my life and how long it took for me to see the destruction of self-suppression and do something about it but I’m more inspired today to wiggle my toes in that soft, fluffy space of ME untethered. The unhinging was a process, is a process, that is as painful as it is exhilarating and every encounter of confirmation, every reminder of its ultimate blessing swells my gratitude to the inner ones guiding my BEcoming.
So if you do nothing more in life, as much as possible, as often as you can BE YOU, authentically so.