Why I Hold Back

Cara Ferrara Bradley

I just received news that something I had recently written was “missing my voice and my character.” As I listened to this feedback, I sensed my guilty little ego scurry away and hide in the corner of the room. She waited there, covering her head, until I hung up the phone. My soul, on the other hand, stayed with me, comforted me and nodded her head with a compassionate knowing.

The truth is what I had written had come from me but not through me.  What I wrote was based on my passion for human potential but it had somehow been censored. The bottom line is that I had held back. I had unconsciously edited out my bold statements and my vulnerable revelations. I had allowed my anxious ego to override my soul. I thought that I had walked my walk and talked my talk, but fear came through instead.

I want to know what holds me back from speaking honestly. I want to know I am afraid of. I am frankly ready for answers because the pain of muting my expression any longer is downright exhausting and overbearing. And so without censoring a word, without allowing a moment of doubt to enter my mind, I share my answers.

I hold back because:

  • I am afraid of being rejected.
  • I worry that I am not good enough.
  • I feel that what I have to share has already been said.
  • There are others out there who are more competent than me.
  • Who, besides my mother, wants to read my stuff anyhow?
  • Who am I to think that I’ve got something worthy to say?

I recognize that if I am to live fully and courageously, I am going to have to face these questions head on. I am going to have to slay these dragons and get on with the business of being bold and honest and, well, abundantly me.

So perhaps my cowering ego should stay curled up in the corner because the real me has big plans in a world where doubt and fear are not invited.

Comments 10

  1. Hi Cara, As a fellow writer, this speaks to me 100%. Every time I sit down to write something I know will be seen by eyes other than my own, I am flooded with the same fears and doubts. I hope it helps to know that you are not alone, and that as someone other than your mother, I love to read your stuff! So maybe you can cross that one off the list;) Also, have you read Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott? It’s like my bible – especially the chapter on “Shitty First Drafts.” Great post, thanks for sharing so honestly.

  2. Cara, I am amazed how we are all pretty much the same in our nature. Please share how you slay your dragons, how your smash or maybe lovingly escort to the door one of them. It would be so helpful because every one of us at one point or another finds themselves pushed to the ground under the weight of the same fears. What happens after we recognize them?

  3. The irony that all of those fears cancel themselves out by you bravely revealing that which might no longer hold you back! does that make sense? I love your blogs Cara! That was so great!!

  4. Cara, I love all your posts but this one resonated big time! Maybe your next post can be the how-tos of shaking free! thanks so much for being such a great example of being fully engaged in life.

  5. My husband reads everything I post and every now and then he’ll say something similar. “It was good, but I like when you’re you”. It’s hard to find the balance sometimes. I often think that my voice, my real voice, doesn’t sound credible or professional. Which I know is crazy. I know that being a person behind the words is the most credible thing I can do.

    1. You are so wise Mary Kathryn. The funny think is that I know when I am not writing from my “source.” There is a different quality to my words. It’s all a practice, huh? Thanks for commenting.

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