Why are we holding ourselves back?

You barely ever see a small child holding itself back. They are in the moment, happily oblivious of expectations and performance anxiety. They are busy being, and they are trying out different ways of being through role play and imagination, as if trying on different outfits, to experience different perspectives. And they are busy playing. Just like a tiger cub, they are playing to learn about life. There is no difference between work and play when you are a child. That is why children can be so blissful. There are no boundaries between inner and outer reality. Children are connected with the inner self. They are coherent.

Then something happens. Some adult tells us something that makes us feel less than. We start to look outside ourselves for reassurance and we lose that important connection with our inner reality, our inner knowing of what’s right and wrong. We learn to adapt to the expectations of the outside world and we learn how to neglect our inner self. Bit by bit we lose our coherent state and become scattered and afraid of not living up to someone else’s standards. We start comparing ourselves with other people and we never realise that every person is different; every person has different abilities and a different purpose. We start to treat life as if it were a competition instead of an ever evolving experience. And we forget that we came here to play and to experience all the different perspectives in life. We start to copy other people’s lives and wonder why we feel so unfulfilled.

We keep hushing that little voice inside trying to tell us that something is seriously wrong. We use food and shopping and escapism to avoid listening to that inner voice that is trying to remind us about our longing for a different life. A life that matters. A life that is unique and meaningful. A life where we get to express ourselves and what’s inside of us without worrying about how people are going to receive it. Where we get to play and try out different ways of expressing just for the fun of it, so we can find out where our joy lies. We keep watching too much telly and we waste our precious time scrolling through Facebook and Instagram watching other people do things, instead of doing the things that we long to do. We eat too much chocolate and we shop too many pieces of clothes, to silence that tiny little voice inside of us. We get ill and exhausted, and we still don’t get it. We still push ourselves to do all the pointless things instead of doing the things that actually count. The things that would make a difference. The things that we dream of. We become our own worst enemy. There is no one outside of us doing this to us. It’s just us. It’s in our heads.

This is good news. It means we can change it. We can start to listen. We can start to learn how to play again. We can find out what we love to do, and we can do more of that for each day. We can learn how to allow ourselves to take time from the to-do-list to put towards the would-love-to-do-list.