The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Censoring oneself

The simple reason people see a need to censor themselves is that they experience their situation as one in which it may be risky to share some of their thoughts.

It is their perception. A perception that consists of a mix of ideas of what they assume can be said and of their ability to express themselves well.

The censoring itself is a mix of habit, past experiences, and assessment in the moment. This implies that some of the censoring might even pass unnoticed.

We can hope that the environment or the situation would be different, that it should feel safe, and that others would be attentive to our anxiety to say something.

But we can also make ourselves aware of what we are censoring and why we do it.

It may have nothing to do with the situation or the others. In this case, we may need to experiment with that felt risk to speak up. And if that environment feels too risky to speak up it is worth it to find an environment that feels safer and allows us to test other people’s reactions to our idea. We may also experiment with sharing some details of our idea and expand on it as long as others are willing to follow.

If it has more to do with the situation or the others than with us, then it becomes important to make ourselves aware of what we experience as a risk and what this feeling is about.

It is relevant because whatever it is that feels risky, it is a signal to us that there is something important about it.

It can be important for us and our ability to live up to expectations or to feel safe in that environment. It can also be important for those involved, for example, to uncover a blind spot, to feel safe with us, or to be able to do the work one has come together for.

Whenever a risk is being avoided, there are short-term and long-term costs. By failing to invest in the short-term costs, we are buying into higher long-term costs. By negating the long-term costs, we’ll find ourselves confronted with higher short-term costs.

Trust is a good example of this. Consider the consequences of failing to make oneself aware of the risk. In the short term, trust can be impacted, but paying attention to the situation may give all the information necessary to act and restore it. In the long term, this is much harder and may lead to losing the other’s trust with an inability to restore it as too many things piled themselves up.



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