The Power of True Self-Expression

–EXCERPT FROM CHAOS TO CLARITY: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change

Featuring Cassandra A. Tindal

Your voice is one of the most important things you will ever own. You have the ability to make waves, and to shake up the world we live in.

As a young girl, my parents raised me to be seen (or not) and seldom heard. Because I was just a kid, I followed the rules: sit quietly, keep my mouth shut, and mind my own business unless someone asks a question.

Now I believe my parents were passing along the rules of their own painful pasts and recreating their enforced silence. They had learned the best way to cope with their feelings was by keeping a tight lip. The cycle repeated. They expected me to keep a certain part of myself unheard and invisible.

My childhood rules eventually crystalized into attitudes and behavioral patterns that engrained themselves into my psyche and guided my life. I went from needing to withdraw as a child to being withdrawn as a teen, and then as an adult. My inability to express my views had a serious effect on my life. I was never certain what to question, because I felt defenseless.

Childhood memories stick with me for life.

Being powerless was a lonesome feeling. Because my family considered crying a sign of weakness, I learned to bottle up feelings of pain or anger. I always had to appear strong and in control of my emotions.

When my father died, whom I loved dearly, I began to sob. My brother, now considered the man of the house, told me to stop crying and rudely said, “Shut up!”

I wanted to scream with grief from the deep sorrow I felt, but wasn’t allowed to, at least not openly. I’ll never forget how at that moment in time I learned to suppress the experience of a very painful emotion. From that day forward I wondered if I needed permission to express natural human emotions.

My early training left me feeling inadequate and unimportant. I didn’t get to experience enough verbal, social interactions because I was never acknowledged when I tried to communicate emotions.

I grew up accustomed to people ignoring my value and overlooking what I had to “bring to the table.” That made it especially daunting for me to gather my confidence and speak what was on my mind. I still struggle sometimes with worrying about how others perceive me. Questioning my worth has made me back away from a few challenges and opportunities. At times, I wonder, Am I good enough?

Finally, I found a little bit of hope.

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Editor’s Note: This excerpt is from just one of many Sacred Stories of our time. Powerful voices from around the globe that speak to our shared human experience. May they inspire you and give you great hope. Order your personal copy of CHAOS TO CLARITY: SACRED STORIES OF TRANSFORMATIONAL CHANGE today and discover hope for the future and a blueprint for your life ⤵︎


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  1. The way we approach and manage our inner world drives everything. It defines our way of living, of loving, of behaving, defines who we are.
    Denial does not work, it is unsustainable. Emotional suppression research shows that when emotions are set aside or ignored they become stronger, psychologists call it amplification. Heavy emotions are part of our contract with life, so how does this emotional rigidity break? It is important to take into consideration that there is no right emotion to try depending on the context. You need to stop, listen to yourself, understand what we really feel and have respect for that feeling. You need to be emotionally agile.
    Only by identifying and respecting all the emotions we experience will we be able to understand ourselves and consequently others.