Inhibition.

In one of my favorite books, writer and researcher Brene Brown says this: “There are many ways in which men and women hustle for worthiness … the two that keep us the most quiet and still are hustling to be perceived as ‘cool’ and ‘in control.’ … Being ‘in control’ isn’t always about the desire to manipulate situations, but often it’s about the need to manage perception. We want to be able to control what other people think about us …”

She talks a lot about inhibition.

I think inhibition is about calculation.

Inhibition is only doing something if we can predict the results of doing it.

(If we can predict it, we can feel in control.)

Inhibition is not doing something if we can’t predict the results of doing it.

Which implies…

-we want to fit in
-we don’t want to deviate (and we aren’t sure if we do)
-our fears of being judged, rejected, misunderstood, criticized, stereotyped or incorrectly categorized outweigh our desires for being authentic.

Which implies…

-we care (a lot) about what other people think of us
-we are more likely to follow external guides than internal ones

Which means…

-when we most feel in control, we actually aren’t in control at all, because
-we don’t make our own decisions; other people’s (potential or actual) thoughts and feelings make our decisions for us.

We are so afraid not to fit in, or to deviate, or to be judged or rejected that we don’t notice the way our effort to avoid those things requires us to relinquish…

-our freedom
-our repose
-ourselves.

So consider this — something else Brene Brown says:

“One of the biggest surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing, and, in fact, fitting in gets in the way of belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

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