Freedom from mental slavery

Earlier today, a friend was trying to have a conversation with me about a topic we discussed in class.  While quite a controversial topic, I definitely had a point of view that I had settled on and am quite comfortable in. This friend of mine I will describe as free-spirit.  She spoke louder than I, spoke incessantly – in fact, I had a difficult time getting a word in.  She jumps from one thing to another in a split second – honestly I can’t keep up sometimes.

However, that wasn’t exactly the issue at hand.  The issue at hand was the fact that I was not fully concentrating on what she was saying.   I was not fully invested in the conversation because I was on high alert for eavesdroppers.  I was in a classroom full of peers, many in close proximity and so, many could tune in and listen to every word we were saying.

For that reason, I was monitoring and censoring myself.  I wanted to say what I thought was a good response. I didn’t want to sound ignorant and I didn’t want to appear stupid.  And I was certain that specific people were definitely listening to us and evaluating my performance in the conversation.  I was so focused on everyone around me and on trying to find the correct words and phrasing to express myself that I have no idea how much of my mind was actually devoted to this friend of mine!

This is the most debilitating phenomenon in my life – the one thing that totally inhibits my potential from actualizing.  Why do I care so much what other people think of me?  Why am I letting other people’s thoughts of me curtail my performance?  Why do I have to be smart?  Why do I have to say the right things all the time?  Why must I be cautious?  Why am I so afraid of offending others?  How do I liberate myself from these shackles?

I want to be free, free like my friend.  She says whatever she wants whenever she wants.  She is fearless.  She is not afraid of being WRONG?  What’s wrong with being wrong?  She’s not afraid of sounding stupid? She’s not afraid of offending others?  She’s not afraid.  She uses her voice. She allows herself to be.  She doesn’t hold herself back.

Why can’t I do that?  This self-imposed constant self-censorship, editing, silencing is what is holding me back from progress in my life; it’s what is slowing down the whole process of me becoming the person I keep wanting to be!  I want to speak.

I am also having troubling thinking.  I can’t think straight.  I can’t think clearly.  I can’t accept the fact that I don’t have all the right answers – or any answers for that matter!  How did I make myself this grand, yet totally incapable??

I only have one point of view and I need to accept that.  I can never know it all.  The faster I accept that, the better off I will be.  Gosh, it’s exhausting being me, living in this body, in this mind, with these thoughts!