Stop Denying Yourself!

This Article was written by Kristen Rafajko and Originally Published on

One thing that I have often wondered, and struggled with, is why people continually deny themselves the right to feel what they feel, say what they think, do what they do, and just be who they are meant to be.

We are all different in who we are, where we come from, and the experiences that we have faced. Conforming our thoughts and feelings to be what is “normal” or “right” is just not humanly natural. Yet, we all do it; we hold back from crying in a movie (or if your like me, a long distance commercial), telling a person we care or whats on our mind, and sometimes doing the things we love because its not the “normal” thing to do.

The courage to open up and be vulnerable is such a powerful and admirable trait, and can lead to a life full of respect, and authenticity.

When I was browsing, my new favorite website, Pinterest the other day, I came across a quote and a picture of actress Zooey Deschanel, that immediately struck a chord with me. The quote was so inspiring and refreshing that i literally based this whole article around it:


It’s my thought, that we need to open up, speak out, and stand up for what we think, feel, and believe. Stop hiding behind how others think you should feel and do things. We all have the power to change, affect, and inspire our own lives and possibly others’ lives.

It’s our thoughts, feelings, and emotions that will give us the motivation to do what we need to do, but if we deny ourselves the right to just feel, then we will be left feeling lost, uninspired, and left with the feelings that we have no control.

Whether, you are having to make a tough decision, are proud of yourself for getting up and accomplishing your to-do list for the day, or are so moved by the feelings of wanting to make a difference in the world, honor those feelings and allow yourself to just be in the moment and be affected by whatever it is that moves you.

“ Nothing is more powerful than allowing yourself to truly be affected by things.”

Here are a few tips and guidelines that will help you to not deny yourself and your feelings:

1. Get In Touch with Yourself and Feel Your feelings.

Feelings and emotions can be a tricky thing to balance; Avoid the extremes – we should neither neglect our emotions nor should we allow them to run our lives. Rather, we want to care for them so that they shape us and serve us.

TIP: A great way to develop awareness of your feelings is to keep a journal. Take time to reflect on how you’re feeling during the day. Eventually, you will get better at identifying your feelings in the moment so that you don’t have to wait until later to acknowledge and express them.

2. Think through your feelings.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is this:

“We ought to spend 50% of our time living our lives and the other 50 percent reflecting on what is being lived.” ~Henri Nouwen, Author of “Can You Drink the Cup?” 

How much time do you take to reflect on the things in your life; how they affected you, how you reacted to them, and how they have shaped you to be who you are?

3. Live in the Present

Commit to being actively present in your day to day life. Allow yourself to focus on what is in front of you, right now; not on the what needs to be done, or the “I should have done’s”.

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