There is often controversy around censorship, particularly about information getting hidden or concealed in or by the media. It is a popular topic of conversation as many people feel like they aren’t getting the full story or all of the information that is going on behind the scenes, or behind the appearance of things. There are narratives that people want to be seen or heard more than other narratives. Each person or group does their best to be the loudest or have the most attention placed on what they want to be seen or heard. This often lends to debates around violations of free speech or free expression. For some people this is a very heated debate. Ultimately this censorship leads to feelings of mistrust and that no one is being honest about what is really going because the full story isn’t being shared.
As we see this all being played out before us, sort of like watching a movie on a big screen, we are getting a peak into the inner workings of our own collective and personal psyche. The way I see it is is that everything is projection. That which we have the most inner charge around we will work out in our outer environment, and it will become our experience or what we call fact or reality. The outer experience of censorship and the unfairness or violation around it, is a mere reflection of the massive amounts of self-censorship we do on a day to day basis. Many are frustrated by how un-fully expressed they feel and simultaneously they are constantly censoring themselves. Why do we self-censor? There are a multitude of reasons. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, we don’t feel like who we are is valid or good enough to express, we don’t want to appear to come off as rude or insensitive, we think other people won’t accept us, like us or maybe will even leave us if we don’t censor ourselves.
Another way to say self-censor would be to say that we aren’t being authentic or honest. When we censor ourselves we become un-trustable. People don’t know if we are being honest or not and this makes them not trust us. How much do you trust someone who you know isn’t telling you the truth? Probably not much, and rightfully so. If we want to live authentically, and authentically relate with others, then we must be ourselves. Now on the flip side of this, sometimes we might not really want to know the truth that someone is expressing to us, because it isn’t what we want to hear, see or know. As a “recipient” of authenticity we must be willing to receive the information as it is. When we don’t receive the information well, it breads more of an environment where censorship is the socially accepted way of engagement in our collective and personal relationships.
Facing your fears
Making the shift from inauthenticity to authenticity may feel tough. It may bring up some of your biggest fears such as rejection, worthlessness, or being a bad person. These fears run pretty deep through most all of us as human beings. What it boils down to though is the type of experience you both want to have and create, which are the same thing. Even though authenticity can feel super scary and threatening, being inauthentic feels miserable in other ways. We usually feel disgruntled, frustrated, stuck, trapped, unaligned, disempowered, heavy, tired, irritated, annoyed and not at peace when we are choosing inauthenticity. On a bigger level it can also feel like we aren’t living our purpose or engaging with life in the ways we desire too. We each must personally evaluate the cost and decide if authenticity or inauthenticity makes more sense to us. We may perceive that we get certain things like survival needs, love, attention, approval, validation, or respect if we engage inauthentically, or in ways we think other people want us too. On the other hand being ourselves, having self-acceptance, feeling at peace and being aligned with our purpose may hold more weight.
Now being authentic isn’t a permission slip to be mean or righteous, rather it’s only to be truthful. If the receiver of your authentic expression can’t receive you, first know that it isn’t about you. It’s about them not being able to accept what is being presented to them in the reflection of you. Secondly you can consciously choose not to express an aspect of yourself in any situation or relationship that you find it relevant not to do so. The key here is that you are deliberately choosing to withhold because you feel greater relevance in not expressing yourself. When you are in the position of chooser there are no feelings of violation of self-expression, no frustration in not expressing yourself and you feel nothing is lost. It can sometimes be a bit tricky to discern if you are avoiding authenticity or truly feeling it relevant not to express yourself. The determining factor is often how much inner peace you have at the end of it all.
There are overt ways that we self-censor that are often very obvious. Examples would be not saying something we are feeling to someone, flat out lying to others, saying we will do things that we don’t want to do, shutting down completely and not speaking. These things are obvious to just about anyone that is aware. There are also subtle way that we self-censor that may not be as apparent. Examples would be ways that we posture our body, being stiff or rigid, holding our breath, not making eye contact, smiling or nodding a lot, being agreeable, shyness, and not feeling. In order to uncover these for yourself simply notice when you feel most yourself and contrast that with when you feel the most not yourself, and then pay attention to some of these subtleties.
To live uncensored is simply to be yourself and to receive what life offers you. It is to be trustable in self and of life. It is to live aligned and feel inner peace. Being authentic with others is being authentic with self.
Dr. Amanda Love