“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Control of what you say or do in order to avoid annoying or offending others, but without being told officially that such control is necessary.”
- How many times have you stopped yourself from speaking your truth because you were worried about offending someone?
- How many times have you pretended to be someone you’re not in order to gain approval from others?
- How many times have you put your emotions aside to appease others?
- How many times have you stopped yourself from doing something you really wanted to do (like dancing or singing) because you were worried what other people would think?
These are examples of self-censorship — an act many of us perform habitually and unconsciously. And while it’s always important to be considerate of other people’s feelings, it’s not okay to disregard your own truth in the process.
For many of us, self-censorship acts as a personal prison we’ve locked ourselves into, and somewhere deep within a cell, our authentic selves can be found, waiting for freedom.
The question is, will you grant your soul the freedom it was born to have?
If you answered yes, here’s how you can stop self-censorship:
1.) Pay Attention to How Often You Self-Censor
When we’re little, we’re flawlessly ourselves — we dance when we want to dance, we sing when we want to sing, and we speak when we want to speak. But then as we get older, we adopt the thoughts, beliefs and habits of our influencers (society, parents, peers etc.) and we start to lose a lot of our fearlessness and comfort being unapologetically ourselves.
This transformation causes us to censor our thoughts, ideas, beliefs and actions. We worry about what other people will think if we do or say certain things, so we stay quiet and still:
“I’m not good enough. My ideas aren’t good enough. People will never take me seriously if I do x, y or z.”
If you want to change something you have to start at the foundation. In this case, you’ll need to pay attention to when you’re self-censoring and how often it’s happening. Are you with family? Friends? Peers? What situations cause you to limit yourself and conform?
Make note of these circumstances. Become an observer. And then, once you understand your own limiting patterns, you’ll be able to disassemble them.
2.) Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
Being comfortable is easy and familiar. We know what to do, how to act, what to expect. But, when we’re planted in a comfortable spot it’s hard for us to grow. We become limited in everything we think and do.
We drive in a lane that we didn’t build, and we expect it to take us to the destination of our choice. But, that’s not how life works. If you want to get to where YOU want to be, then you need to build your own lane and make your own rules.
Step outside of what’s “comfortable” and “normal” and dare to be yourself. Take risks. Do things that make you scared — like traveling solo to a foreign country or dancing in front of a crowd. Seize this beautiful, fleeting physical experience you’ve been given and live it as YOU.
3.) Stop Filtering Your Life
We filter our pictures:
Filtered Self Unfiltered Self
We filter our messages:
We filter our words:
“Hey girl, what’s new?”
“OMG! I’m so excited! I have this great idea for CAJ! I was thinking…Nothing. How are you?”
We filter our actions:
Us on the outside…
…us on the inside.
We spend SO much time filtering, we forget who we truly are.
Lift the veil and stop censoring your life. Express yourself. Be open and honest about who and what you are. Don’t post things on social media for likes and comments. Don’t say and do things sheerly to impress others. And don’t STOP yourself from being YOU.
4.) Start with Something Small
If you want to stop self-censoring, you don’t have to go from zero to 100. Get your feet wet, take some time to adjust, and ask yourself, “what’s one small thing I can do today to stop censoring myself?“
Whatever that thing is, start there. Don’t push yourself to run when you’re just learning how to walk. Enjoy the journey, and embrace the changes.
We all know life is short, but so many of us live like we have unlimited time. But, we don’t. At first it might be scary to stop self-censoring, but as you get into the swing of things and allow your true self to surface, your fear will be replaced with freedom — and that my friends is where we all need to be!
“Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” – Steve Jobs
About Antasha Durbin: Antasha is a spiritual writer, life-long student of the universe, and psychic tarot card reader. Her website, cajspirituality.com, is dedicated to casualizing the spiritual experience and making it attainable for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Follow her for free, easy-to-digest and highly actionable advice on spirituality, mindfulness and empowered living.