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Feeling Pressed: Understanding Repression, Oppression, and Suppression




Life can often feel like a pressure cooker, with various forces pressing down on us from different directions. It's crucial to understand these pressures to navigate our journeys with grace and resilience. Today, we're diving into the nuanced differences between being repressed, oppressed, and suppressed—three experiences that can significantly impact our well-being and growth.


Repression: The Unseen Burden

Repression is like carrying a weight in your subconscious. It's an unconscious defense mechanism where our mind blocks out painful or unacceptable thoughts, feelings, or desires. Often, we aren't even aware that this process is happening.


Imagine a child who has endured a traumatic event. To protect themselves, their mind might bury these memories deep within, where they remain hidden from conscious awareness. As adults, these repressed memories can still influence our behavior, relationships, and overall mental health, even though we can't pinpoint their origin.


Recognizing repression requires a gentle and compassionate approach. Through mindfulness, therapy, and self-reflection, we can begin to uncover and heal these hidden wounds. It's about creating a safe space within ourselves to explore and integrate these buried parts of our psyche.


Oppression: The External Force

Oppression is an external force that unjustly restricts or controls individuals or groups. It is systemic, pervasive, and often deeply ingrained in societal structures. Oppression is not about personal failings but about power dynamics and social injustices.


Consider marginalized communities who face discrimination based on race, gender, sexuality, or socioeconomic status. These groups endure constant barriers that limit their opportunities, rights, and freedoms. Oppression is an ongoing struggle that demands collective awareness, advocacy, and systemic change.


Understanding oppression calls for empathy and action. We must educate ourselves about the experiences of those who are oppressed and work towards creating a more equitable and just society. It's about standing in solidarity and using our voices to challenge and dismantle oppressive systems.


Suppression: The Conscious Choice

Suppression involves a conscious decision to push down or avoid certain thoughts, feelings, or information. Unlike repression, suppression is a deliberate act, either self-imposed or enforced by external authorities.


Think of a person who suppresses their anger to maintain peace in a relationship. They are aware of their feelings but choose not to express them. Or consider a government that suppresses information to control public perception. In both cases, suppression is about intentional restraint.


Addressing suppression means acknowledging and dealing with the things we consciously avoid. It's about finding healthy outlets for our emotions and advocating for transparency and truth in broader contexts. Suppression can be a temporary coping mechanism, but long-term, it often leads to unresolved tension and stress.


Embracing Awareness and Compassion

Understanding the differences between repression, oppression, and suppression helps us navigate our inner and outer worlds more effectively. It equips us with the knowledge to address our personal struggles and contribute to broader social change.


At Kizen Living, we believe in the power of awareness and compassion. By recognizing these pressures, we can take steps towards healing, growth, and empowerment. Let's create spaces where we can explore our repressed emotions, challenge oppressive systems, and address the things we consciously suppress.


Remember, feeling pressed is a part of the human experience, but how we respond to it shapes our journey. Let's walk this path with understanding and kindness, both towards ourselves and others.


With love and light,

Leslie Tankersley Arboleda, The Kizen KoachTM

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