February 16, 2012

Overcoming Inhibitions

The other day I was having a quiet conversation with a friend who was looking for a little advice on how to let go of some inhibitions they had. It really wasn’t anything to do with the same kind of inhibitions in my own life, but the thoughts behind it are pretty much the same.

Of course, there are many levels of inhibitions and reasons for them. Some are routed very deeply in our self-esteem, while others are strongly implied by the community and society we live in.

Letting go of our inhibitions becomes more of a challenge as we settle into adult life. If you notice, children have very little fear of trying new things - from music lessons to sports to meeting new children. Most kids just push ahead and experience what life has to bring. They’ll say hello to a new kid in the class, join in a game on the playground, or stand up in a school play and sing. Where they tend to get scared is when those experiences are separated by an adult - hence the “do not talk to strangers” reality kids live in today.

In a nutshell, kids don't really seem to be too fixated on what other people think ... which is where adults fall down. As we get older, our psyche becomes wired to understand that there can be consequences to our actions. That becomes the bigger obstacle in overcoming our inhibitions.

Away from the fears that are necessary for survival, and those that prevent us from playing with electricity, we settle into our lives and for the most part exist within our comfort zones. Our social fears find a home in the back of our minds and we plug along in these notions that behaving this way and that way is "right." The times we venture out from that personal sanctuary become fewer and far between.

But how do we step away from that comfort zone as adults? Inhibitions tend to be the blinders we put on ourselves, and not always defined as “big deals.”

This experience for me - the discovery of my sexual side - has not been without a lot of apprehension and self-doubt. From second guessing, to accepting that others will continually judge me, it has been a crazy and sometimes scary journey.

You guys get to see a side of me that is easily shared on a somewhat anonymous level. What you haven’t seen are the moments I stood, staring at myself in the mirror thinking there was no way I could wear this dress or that skirt. You’ve missed the mornings when I have actually given myself a pep talk when I walked into work dressed up a little more than usual, knowing that I was challenging my own comfort zone.

Because, despite the thoughts and adventures I share with you, I am still very much a shy, reserved, normal “girl-next-door.” We all have our level of vulnerability, but part of life is about how we expose that side of ourselves.

As a woman, one of the biggest pressures placed on me is that of the "good girl vs. bad girl" perception. The societal pressures and guilt often forced on us creates a lot of the inhibitions that we have: poor body image, shame over flirting, failure over not being Hollywood starlet thin ... all messages that serve to prevent many of us from experiencing so much of life.

I guess I'm lucky that I found someone who has worked hard to make sure I have a healthy dose of "bad girl" in my personality.

In the past year or so, there have been a few experiences that have set my husband and I on a different path in our relationship. Scary doesn’t exactly cover the emotions at the best of times … but there seems to be a bigger fear in a lot of people’s lives: regret.

When was the last time you asked yourself what you really wanted out of life - not what someone else said you should have, but that one thing in your dreams that you always thought would come true? Have you let go of those ambitions? Have you let someone else become the one who has to give permission before you act?

If you can't answer those questions honestly to yourself, then that may be where you need to start in overcoming your inhibitions.

It's easy to suggest that we should just pursue what we want in life without hesitation, but life isn’t a dress rehearsal … nor it is a spectator sport; pardon my clichés. Some moments are meant to be grabbed, wrestled to the ground and celebrated in victory.

Whether yours are about a sexual adventure like mine, or beating seemingly insurmountable odds, inhibitions can’t define who we are…make the regret be “I wish I had done that … again.”
Andee     xoxo

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