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April 19, 2004

Being Yourself—the Personal and the Political

As children, most of us were not supported in being our wild, natural selves. We were neglected, shamed, or disciplined into becoming something that our parents and our society preferred.

Emotional disturbance and repetitive dysfunctional patterns are the legacy of this training-away-from-self. When we heal and grow back into our natural state of selfhood, we are ultimately moving toward freedom - freedom to be ourselves.

Initially we work to resolve the inner coercion that authority figures have imposed on us by finding a supportive, affirming, non-oppressive environment in which to heal and grow. When we can be ourselves with ourselves, we may then notice that the society at large is still oppressive. We can be ourselves at home, but as soon as we step outside, the same coercive, non-supportive environment exists. We cannot be fully ourselves, for instance, in a fascist state.

To be fully ourselves, our growth will eventually move from the personal to the social and political. This is why I am moved to social and political activism. The present corporate and governmental climate, especially in the United States, is contrary to personal freedom. If we truly care for our emotional and physical health, it is essential that we also care for the political "soil" in which we grow.



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