We tend to adjust who we are and what we say based on people and setting that we are in. We often segment ourselves by allowing some parts of ourselves and excluding others in various interactions. We may dumb ourselves down or become more sarcastic to fit with the folks that we are with. We do things that are out of character. This inevitably causes conflict with ourselves. At some level, we know that we acted outside of our wholeness and integrity.
Historically in oppressive cultures, people died for what they believed in. They knew that being true to themselves was a risk and stated their truth anyway. That was how important it was to them.
And here we are living in the free world, where you can express almost anything without risking your life. But still, we hold back and present only the parts (or segments) of ourselves that we believe fits in.
This segmenting also becomes internalized. We tell ourselves that different parts of ourselves do not go together. My teacher once challenged one his students to smudge and do ceremony in her professional business suit. She had great difficulty with it as she did not see these two vital aspects of herself fitting with each other. She had segmented herself.
After a while, we rarely present our whole self to anyone. Our expression gets so filtered and watered down that it rarely carries any punch. It becomes non-threatening, politically-correct, and wishy-washy.
So next time someone asks you what you think, why not tell them? Perhaps it will give them permission to express what they really think back. You could have an honest interaction in which whole selves interact with each other. It could be an interaction that actually interacts- not one that plays it safe.
Everyone gets the opportunity to affect each other and grow- even if we do feel a bit vulnerable and uncomfortable.
About the Author
I, Michael Hoffman, am a licensed psychotherapist, teacher, and author with 25 years experience in counseling and teaching experiential workshops. I have maintained this blog since 2009, and my second book Natural Way of Being will published in 2019.
I offer in-person and video-conferencing counseling, intensive workshops, and online courses to allow participants to directly experience their natural way of being and the life they would have for themselves.