It’s No Wonder We Fear Full Self-Expression

This blog is teaching me more about fearless self-expresson than I thought it would.

I recently posted an extensive entry on MY RESPONSE to a newsletter I received from Lee Glickstein, a man I respect greatly, who is the founder and spark of Speaking Circles International.

I received some great comments on the entry arguing with me, which I loved, but I could also FEEL how hard it is to put one’s thoughts and feelings out there and have people just not like them. Especially people you respect and like!

Lee felt I had misquoted him. I noticed the fear rise up in me. Had I misquoted him? Had I really messed up? I went over my words and his words in a slight panic.

It’s no wonder we all keep our thoughts and ideas to ourselves.
It’s no wonder that so many of us are afraid to even open our mouths and speak to ANYONE much less to a group of people.

It really is hard to stand up and stand out and speak one’s heart and mind.
People don’t like it sometimes.
People will argue with you.
People may not like you, even though you really like them.

Yep, that’s all true. I’m really feeling that right now. And I’ll be honest with you. It doesn’t feel that good. It rubs up against that old need to be liked even if that means I have to shrink and shut up.

This fear of being rejected and thought ill of is at the core of people’s fear and anxiety of speaking in public. It runs deep. It keeps us small and scared. It constricts us in ways we aren’t even aware of until the pain becomes unbearable.

Maybe this is why I admire Dennis Rodman so much. He just doesn’t give a fig for what you may think of anything he does or says.

As another one of my teachers once said (by the way, Lee was one of my primary teachers in my quest to liberate people from the fear of full-out self-expression), “You can’t give a rip what anyone else thinks.” I wrote an article about this a while back. I’ll post it again.

To be honest with you, this experience has only encouraged me to speak out more.
As I feel this knee-jerk reaction of fear and “oh, no! They don’t like me!” rise up, I recognize it for what it is. A habit. An old way of thinking that has never served me or anyone else. And I have to smile and sing softly, “You’re not the boss of me now. You’re not the boss of me.”

Listen. The people who like you will like you. But even those people may not like everything you say or do. Can that be all right with you?

And there will be people who don’t like you no matter what you say or do.
That has to be all right with you, too. That is, if you want the joy and freedom of be free and fully self-expressed.

3 replies
  1. Mike Duffy
    Mike Duffy says:

    Great post, Nancy (and one which resonated for me, although I’m not quite ready to become Dennis Rodman). Richard Feynman (physicist) wrote a book called “What Do You Care What Other People Think?” Anyway, keep up the good work!

  2. Sahara Chaldean
    Sahara Chaldean says:

    Hi Nancy ~~~

    I wonder if it’s possible for me to continue commenting without you interpreting it as an “argument”?

    My intention in responding to you initially was to clarify that you misquoted Lee Glickstein and to share my experience of his article about “the 7 states of ease/disease”.

    I’ve enjoyed reading your writing Nancy and I totally support you in expressing yourself fully in all areas of your life. I would be one of the first to encourage you to write freely in your blog, whether people like what you write or not. However, I also think we all have an obligation as we exercise our freedom of speech, to be careful not to misquote each other.



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