Am I repressing myself? Am I repressed? How can I tell?

Well as you can imagine that is not something that one can easily find out about themselves. But let’s start at the beginning…

What is Repression?

According to the dictionary, repression is…

the action or process of suppressing a thought or desire in oneself so that it remains unconscious

The problem starts there as repression usually means that you send a thought, emotion or desire to your unconscious. This means that you have no access to that anymore (otherwise it would be conscious). As such, we might actually start to think that this is not there at all. Alas, there is some unfinished business there that we need to attend to if we are to move on with our lives.

How does repression work?

This is a personal understanding of how repression works so please keep in mind that you need to check with your own process if this indeed applies to how you experience things.

Basically, we feel something that is conflicting with something else in us. For example, I feel sad and I want to cry. But I have learned that “big boys don’t cry”. And I am a big boy by now. So how can I cry? 

The easy solution is there – Repression! I will put this one in the box and hopefully, it will disappear. And I don’t cry. And I keep my sadness inside. And it works… Well, sort of… For a certain period of time.

However, by keeping things in the “inner box” and especially since I don’t visit that box to see what has been left there, this becomes full and crowded. It might be jumping up and down with all the things that I have been keeping there…

Bottling up emotions for a long time is never a good idea…

Yours truly

Emotions and desires will come back to haunt me eventually. Thankfully and rightly so and if I am to ever experience the whole of my Self at some point.

What can I learn from repression?

Well, the need to control my reaction is understandable. But to what extent? I would argue that visiting my own repressed thoughts and emotions speaks about finding a balance as to how much and for how long I can keep things bottled up in me and when I need to let them out. Also, betraying certain “bad lessons” we have learnt very well, also might be a requirement that we need to live up to at some point.

So what do you think? Do you think that you have things in you that you have repressed? And what are they? What might be a good way to attend to them?

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