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  • Fe Robinson

Repression, supression, expression and awareness

The opposite of repression and suppression is not expression, its awareness.

I heard Andrew Seubert make this excellent observation in a training seminar recently. Oftentimes I hear clients reflect that they would rather not experience what they feel and honestly think, because to do so would be dangerous. If we see the opposite of repression as expression, then indeed, expressing things that challenge others may well at times feel inadvisable or even threatening.

It’s important then to know that the aim of experiencing and being with our inner world is not to automatically externalise it. It is to connect with and liberate the energy that is stuck, to release it internally, and then to be at choice with what we do or not do with it externally.

This distinction of inner and outer worlds is a helpful one. For those who find personal boundaries difficult, it may in the past not have felt like a choice. We may have been invaded by others who intrude on our inner world, or held so far away that we have no connection with others, parts inside may even be confused about what is us and what is other.

Knowing that our inner world is our sensations, feelings and thoughts, that which is within us, and that the outer world of words and actions is also one of choice and volition, is a liberation. We can deeply experience within, and also take responsibility for what we do and do not share without, mindful of how we share and the impact we wish to have on others and our relationships.

Perhaps the first job is to work on our relationship with ourselves. To build the ability to make safe space for difficult feelings and challenging thoughts, to be able to witness without becoming, to be able to soothe and stimulate ourselves within. If this is a challenge, then reaching out to a psychotherapist may well be of benefit.


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