Identifying (and Breaking) the Cycle of Self-Suppression

This may be out there, but I like to think that we all go through continuous stages of improvement on a journey towards becoming our best selves. Our current self is nothing like our older selves (thank God!) and our future selves will be different in some way, shape or form. What I only just recently came to realize, however, is how much control we have over our future selves.

For so long, I never truly understood just how easy it was for me to give others control—control over my preferences, my limits, my happiness. So many times, I can remember making choices based on others’ approval. I’ve carefully tiptoed around pessimism, tolerated negative energy and avoided conflict.

Now I’m no psychologist, but I know enough to know that we evolve with certain perceptions and inclinations. For one reason or another, we’re predisposed to certain ways of thinking and behaving. Whether these are good or bad doesn’t matter. What does is that we have more power than we think to reengineer ourselves.

We have the power to shed ourselves of any and all external influences and declare ownership of our own minds and lives. We can wipe the slate clean. More importantly, it’s okay to wipe the slate clean. Get this: we should wipe the slate clean if we’re not satisfied. How liberating is that!

Of course, I can’t think of anyone better to describe this process than the amazing Oprah. In a 2011 episode of Oprah’s Lifeclass called, “You’re Responsible for Your Life,” she explains how she herself went through this process along her personal journey:

“I’ve had to do a clearing in my life of some people whose energy I realized was not supportive of who I wanted to be in the world. And I recognized that there were people who were not going to take responsibility for their energy, so I now have to take responsibility for the energy that I allow to be brought into my space.”

In today’s world where there are more ways than ever for people to shame, manipulate and pressure, it’s vital that we realize a universal truth: we are only affected if we allow others to affect us. We cannot control others, but we can control our own actions and ways of thinking. Once we understand the full power of this truth, we begin to gain control over who we are and who we want to be.

As Oprah so eloquently states: “You cannot continue to move forward in your life to the [levels] that you need to be if you’re surrounded by energy that brings you down.” Not only are we responsible for the energy that we bring, but we’re responsible for the energy that we surround ourselves with. There is no one person great enough on this Earth to control you, and there is no one (and I mean no one) important enough that they should be allowed to bring toxicity or negativity into your space.

This tolerance of negative influence is what I call the cycle of self-suppression, and this discovery and cleansing process is how I believe it can be broken for good. I’m only just beginning this journey of breaking the cycle, and I anticipate I’ll be working on it as I evolve into many new and improved versions of myself.

I encourage you to think about whose energy you’re currently allowing into your space, and what changes you might have to make to ensure you become your best you. Forget everything you know. Rid yourself of standards and expectations. This is your life. You’re in control of it.

Allison is a Freelance Content Marketer and Author of “The Everyday Woman’s Guide to Entrepreneurship.” She helps disruptive brands drive extraordinary outcomes as a writer extraordinaire, and in her spare time consults female entrepreneurs as a personal brand strategist. She loves helping women discover their innermost power and confidence, which is what she believes to be the most effective drivers of sustainable change and long-term success.