Self-Doubt, Holding Back vs True Expression

Self doubt is not normally a part of my make up anymore so when some crept in over the weekend I knew I was being nudged away from my true expression.

I have committed to writing a book and was researching the competition when all these thoughts like:

  • Who would want to read what I have to say?
  • What do you know?
  • Who are you to be writing a book?
  • No one will want to buy it
  • It’s already been said by others it’s nothing new
  • Its too simple
  • You don’t know enough

and so on, crept into my mind

For a while I was paralysed by the doubt that I could make a book or what that I had to say was relevant or interesting enough to publish yet alone ask people to pay for.

Others had gone before me and was I simply rehashing what they had said, it was nothing new or exciting.

I stopped and felt what was going on in my body. My mind was whirring and my breath had become shallow and irregular. I was actually breathing through my mouth which I never do. I felt tight across my chest, neck and throat and sick in my stomach.

The signs were all there. I was having a mild anxious moment.

I closed my eyes and concentrated on how my body felt and there was a deepness to the sensation, an old familiar pattern that I was not good enough.

Wow that felt nasty!

As I sat breathing gently with my eyes closed, under that not good enough message was another sensation, one that made my knees and ankles ache rooting me to the spot so I couldn’t move forward. What was that? What was going on in my body?

Why wasn’t I feeling able to write my book that I had began with so much conviction and joy? Why was I doubting myself? What I saw was that I was comparing myself to other writers and that I was lacking confidence in my abilities and in my intellectual prowess. Who was I to be writing a book?

Then from deep within the answer came.

  • Who are you to not write this book?
  • Who are you to hold back what it is people want to know and ask you everyday at work?
  • Why do you presume just because you know your subject so well that everyone else does to?
  • You are an expert in your field and no one expresses the way you do.
  • Who are you not to share that expression with the world?
  • This is not about you it is about sharing what you know so others can have that too.

So self-doubt is not part of my psyche anymore and when it crept in I could see from connecting to myself and allowing myself to feel that I was being nudged away from my true expression.

I’m sure we have all had experiences when we have a strong urge or impulse to try something new, express, write or allow more of our true nature to be seen and then hold it back for fear of rejection or criticism or that we may get hurt.

But what if what we have to bring is exactly what the World needs or even what just one person needs? What right do we have to hold that back because we are feeling a little wobbly about the possible responses we may receive.

We judge greatness by standards that have been set by society and associate it with intelligence, fame, prestige and influence. When greatness is simply about you being all you are and bringing that out for all to see in whatever expression feels true to you.

So for me that means back to writing and getting my book out there knowing that it will be awesome just as it is because I wrote it.


Define Yourself – Be Who You Naturally Are

Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

Harvey Fierstein

My whole life I recall being told: be quiet, stop talking, don’t shout out the answers, you can’t say that, keep your trap shut, shush, be silent, pipe down, don’t speak out of turn and hold your tongue along with a multitude of other colloquialisms to stop me from verbally expressing myself.

As a young child I was quite the little chatter-box, I would talk and talk and talk and make up little songs. I would say what I felt in the way that I felt it even if that meant saying something out of turn or telling you I didn’t like you. Even if it meant I might get into trouble.

I can recall an aunt and uncle visiting and “my mother saying are you going to kiss uncle so and so goodbye” and me telling her ” No! I wasn’t because he felt like a mean man”. Well you can imagine how that went down.

I can recall telling my teacher ” when you were in you life before this one you had a baby but it died and you were very sad”. She was pretty shocked and asked my parents to come in to have a chat.

I remember many occasions when I spoke of the “people” who would visit my room at night or the “angels” who came and sang with me, only to be told or overhear the adults say that I had a very over active imagination or worse that I was telling lies.

One time, when I was about 4, I told my mother very calmly “you say you love me but you don’t really” very matter of factly like I had commented on the weather or what colour dress she was wearing. She attempted to laugh it off and told me not to be so silly but I could feel it was true. But in that moment I also felt her sadness and her hurt. The hurt she carried from her parents not truly loving her. I was able to feel the lost little girl in her that was crying out to be adored for who she was in the way I wanted her to adore me for all of who I was.

Looking back it was in that moment that I realised that sometimes it didn’t do to speak your mind as people’s feelings got hurt or they reacted to what was said. It pained me to feel their sadness, anger, devastation or loss. It pained me so much that not only did I start to hold back my natural way of expression but I began to withdraw into myself and away from other people.

I was sensitive to the vibe that a person gave off to such an extent that I was able to gauge with whom I could be open and with whom I needed to be guarded. I began to shut myself down like a dimmer switch to suit the mood and adjust to the people around me so they could feel comfortable and I needn’t feel their pain.

I gradually stopped saying what I felt and started saying what I felt others wanted to hear. I compromised my truth and who I was in a desperate attempt not to rock the boat, trigger a reaction or cause offense. I became quieter and quieter but inside it was agony like a pressure was building and I was going to explode.

And explode I did …. in fits of rage and fury, angry at the World for not being “right”, devastated by the emotions I was so intensely aware of, furious at a society that asks us to be nice and good and polite instead of loving and true. Incensed at a World that would not let me be me.

The more I swallowed my words down the more pain I had inside, I felt lost, hopeless, isolated, misunderstood and incredibly lonely. But words are not are the only expression the way my body moved and how I did things altered, there was no tenderness, delicacy or gentleness in my actions. I was nothing like the carefree young child who used to frolic in the long grass with the angels.

Recently I learnt I no longer needed to be this way and through a series of personal development workshops and healing sessions and the choice to live more honestly and loving of who I am I have been able to find my voice again and start to live from who I am inside.

I now trust my feelings and express my truth both with my voice and the way my body is and moves.

Yes occasionally the truth appears to hurt but being silenced by a World that bullies us to be something or someone we are not hurts us so much more.