Freedom of Expression
Written by: Sabine Roggermeier
The right to articulate our opinions, ideas and thoughts without fear of being censored or retaliated is so important to us that it not only has a long history in human societies but it has been enshrined in different acts through the ages. Nevertheless no matter how much room these acts offer us to express ourselves what if we carry within us “laws” that prohibit us to freely do so?
What I mean by that is beliefs or judgements that keep us back from expressing our true selves. Let me give you a few examples so you can check into your internal “jurisdiction” to see whether you have any of those blocks:
- Worrying about other people’s judgements of me or even believing them
- Judging my thoughts and creations as not being good enough
- Stressing about saying something inappropriate or stupid
- Thinking others won’t understand me
- Feeling shame and guilt over what I expressed
- Shaming myself publicly or in my head to ease tension
- Feeling disempowered in arguments
- Discounting new and creative ideas
- Not feeling heard
- Wanting to be invisible
So, what’s the verdict? Anxiety. It makes us refrain from easily expressing ourselves. Holding back will not only influence what we say or don’t say, but also our relationships, creative outlets and any other part of our lives.
Next time you feel you’re restraining yourself, be your own devil’s advocate and really question those underlying beliefs and whether they are absolutely true. Whatever way of expression you choose value what you bring into the world. Love how you talk to your family and friends. Admire that painting. Pat yourself on the back for standing up for new ideas in a work meeting. Congratulate yourself for speaking a foreign language. Acknowledge that you have a unique voice.
This week’s homework:
How can you be more connected with the value of what you share than any anxiety you may still hold?