I sometimes wonder if our focus on “doing things right” is what causes us more pain, anguish and difficulty than anything else in life. It’s almost as if those red marks on our graded assignments as kids stay with us when we become adults.

In fact, our fear of impending negative feedback often grows as we grow older. We hold our vulnerabilities even closer, wrapping them up carefully like we would a glass vase or a precious piece of china. We’re fearful of sharing our feelings. We hold back our laughter, forgetting that as kids we let it all out from our bellies to our mouths. And to shield our pain, instead of crying, confronting or expressing ourselves, we avoid loved ones when they’ve hurt us.

Yet, in order to fully live, to feel completely alive, we must feel free to express and experience all sides of ourselves.

In The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have author Mark Nepo writes:

“Just as flowers need healthy root systems in order to blossom, feelings can only express their beauty when they are rooted clearly within us, breaking ground in some manner, sprouting outside us. It is that delicate paradoxical inch of ground between surface and deep, between flower and root, between what is allowed out and what is allowed in, that continually determines whether we are living our lives or not.”

What are you holding back? What are you most afraid of expressing? Maybe these insightful and reflective posts written by our bloggers this week will move you to let go of the fear of those red pen marks and begin living your life.

3 Types of Change Your Brain Adapts

(Neuroscience & Relationships) – It’s definitely not the Law of Attraction, but there are new studies on how what you think about shapes your mind. Read this to discover how your body and mind work together and how you can begin to use this information to make conscious changes in your life.

Preventing & Managing an Eating Disorder Relapse

(Weightless) – It’s probably not what you wanted to hear. But relapse is not only possible, it’s probable. The good news is there are not only ways to prevent it, but plan for it as well. And the best news is that it’s all here.

An Interview with Authors of the New Book The Progress Principle

(Adventures in Positive Psychology) – There is hope for you even if you hate your job right now. In this interview, blogger Joe Wilner finds out how you can learn to find meaning in your work life and provides information for employers looking to motivate their employees.

Mirror, Mirror: Self-Awareness and ADHD

(ADHD from A to Zoë) – We all think we know ourselves, but then something happens and we realize we really didn’t know anything at all. That’s what happened to Zoë when she discovered those countless hours spent learning about herself was for naught. Find out what her ADHD has to do with it.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

(Anxiety & OCD Exposed) – Having trouble making a decision? There are a lot of things that can account for that. This blog post identifies some of the mental energy depleters that are responsible and what you can start doing now to improve your decision-making skills.