Thursday, February 4, 2010

withholding

Have you ever considered that withholding yourself makes you weak?  Of course, sometimes it is appropriate to withhold, but I like the implication in Frost's words that giving of ourselves makes us stronger.

 As I quickly review some of the times of my life, I know there were times when I withheld a lot.  I also know that often it was the only safe choice open to me.  It will be an interesting exercise to consider the times when my withholding turned out to be counterproductive and ultimately made me weak.  How do you interpret and apply Frost's words?


(Background courtesy of Jerry Jones at Shadowhouse Creations)

P.S.  I am add this after reading many thought-provoking comments about this quotation of Frost.  Several of the commentors speak about how withholding has its place and should not be viewed as weak.  As always your comments make me think, and I now see that perhaps Frost is not talking about withholding in relationships, but rather withholding ourselves from being all that we can be - suppressing our true nature - not giving ourselves permission to truly flower - holding ourselves back from being creative, powerful, a force to be reckoned with in the world. 

I know that many of us deny ourselves permission to be all that we could be - and that surely makes us weak, or weaker than we would be if all of ourself was available to us.  Think of all that we and the world miss out on because of how much we all suppress in terms of our abilities, intelligence and talents!  Wouldn't it be thrilling to remove the "Permission Denied" sign within and put up a sign for ourselves that proclaims "Permission Granted".  Bloom.  Flower.  Explore. Be all that you are.

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28 comments:

  1. I am not sure how to take these lines – I tried to translate them into French but still they were vague to me. Withholding is right – the right to privacy, to have your secret universe – I think that should make you strong. I think it was right to withhold when I was in physical pain not to disturb my children or my husband – why share the pain? Forget it, withhold it, this is no weakness. Maybe he meant something different than I understood.

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  2. when we withhold ourselves...are we truly invested?

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  3. I don't know about withholding making us weak, but it certainly makes us invisible. Or less visible. I withhold my opinion at times, but I don't think that makes me weak. Rather, it's prudent.

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  4. I agree with the quote 100% and yes, I have withheld myself a few times in my life before. As well as going over the top and spilling the beans to all and sundry (it goes with the sign, I'm Scorpio :-D).

    As for Lhasa, yes, I found out and in fact I have one of her clips coming up in one of my Sunday posts soon with a link to The Guardian's obituary. It's such a pity that such an amazing talent like her has died so young.

    Many thanks for a lovely post.

    Greetings from London.

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  5. Bonnie, there's a thing I'm still learning but might never actually master, and that is, to stop assuming that I know what people are talking about! I am familiar with the term 'withholding' but I'd like to have your definition of it please.

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  6. I'm having a hmmmm moment. I think I understand this and if so, I suppose I agree. I am outwardly open. I speak my mind and have no trouble holding my own. Yet I do not allow people in too close. This trait will cause me to grow old alone. This makes me weak.

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  7. Vagabonde: That's what I like about his lines. Each of us can interpret it differently. Are interpretations are always formed by our experiences - and for you, withholding has proven to be a good thing.

    As always, it is never an either/or proposition. Sometimes it is good to withhold, sometimes not. But we are assuming the thing we are withholding is our thoughts or perspective - maybe Frost meant something more than that.....

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  8. Brian: True....yet some could ask do I have to 'engage' or be totally invested in everything.

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  9. Ellen: I get what you say and do the same myself. But I wonder if we are making an assumption about what Frost is suggesting we withheld? Is it thoughts and opinions?

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  10. Cuban: It is wonderful to be who we are - extravagant at moments - pensive at others.

    All of Montreal grieves the loss of Lhasa.

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  11. Or it could be, when we feel weak, we withhold?

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  12. Hi Deborah: Well, I'm sure you know the dictionnary definition. What Frost's definition was we can only guess.

    My sense of what he is saying is that when we supress our truest nature or our potential it makes us weak. His words make me ask, "What am I withholding or suppressing about myself?"

    I'm not so sure he is talking about what we withhold from others or the world. I think he is prompting us to look at where we are denying ourselves permission to be all that we can be.

    Culture teaches us to 'restrain' ourselves so that we will fit into society and be acceptable. Religion often teaches to be ashamed of and restrain (withhold) natural impulses. Sometimes you hear people say "I'm too much" - they hold themselves down, reduce and restrain themselves to be accepted by others.
    Women have had to do so for thousands of years - withhold - hold back - suppress - repress all of who they were - and surely it does make us weak.

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  13. I like Brian Miller's comment. I think there's a level of courage that's necessary to let go of the "withholding". Depending on how much we can muster up will reveal how much goes into the relationship, how much we're willing to put "at risk". I think it varies from moment to moment, from person to person. For some reason (look at your comments) you compel others to get out there and express themselves. To use the poker term, "all in". So thought provoking, Bonnie....EFH

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  14. I have found to withhold, is to withhold 'who' we are at our core.
    We should never withhold anything for it is our 'essence'...especially love!

    have a great weekend, Bonnie~ and you're doing so great on that cleanse...good for you! and the energy will come!
    Calli

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  15. Sandra: Yes, there are many ways of taking a lesson from Frost's words. Research shows that lack of connection or support can actually negatively affect our lifespan.

    It's so good to think about these things because once aware then we can do something about it, if we choose. You make a good point, because most of us are so multi-faceted and often can deftly exhibit the two sides of any coin - e.g. speak up when we need to, but keep our own counsel when we choose to .....

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  16. Barry: Interesting point. I think both takes on it are correct. It's so interesting to take an assumption and flip it around, turn it on its head - look underneath and see what we find! Thanks Barry!

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  17. HI BONNIE-

    I experience my with-holding as 'caution' where I am quite sure danger of harm is eminent. I am never 100% certain when I hold back that it is the right and or best thing despite my intuitions. I do know though that in my with-holding I have allowed others the freedoms they deserve to manage their own lives. There is so much more to ponder and explore about this.

    Love Gail
    peace.....

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  18. Thanks for the time you took to answer me, Bonnie. As you said to Vagabonde, we each have our own interpretations but in asking for yours, I feel like I have a more complete picture of the possibilities of this poem, if that makes any sense at all.

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  19. Expat: It does take courage to reveal ourself - to ourself or to others. Barry's comment fits nicely here - about does being weak make us withhold....

    I am so enriched by all these comments and reflections and I know the same is true for you on your blog. This is such a great thing about blogging - you can float an idea - ask for input - get almost immediate feedback - and your whole perspective expands. I love it!!

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  20. Hi Calli: I think he is talking more about the who than the what as you say. Another good question you bring up is, are we weakened by withholding love? Surely the answer is yes.

    Thanks for the good thoughts. The cravings are abating. But I am annoyed at having to 'withhold' or exclude myself from certain social gatherings because I could not eat the food offered. Not sure I will do this again.

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  21. Gail: Yes if we talk on the relational level, then the act of withholding can often be a generous, gracious one - where we allow another to explore, express, instruct ... A great point!

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  22. Deborah: Everything you say or ask makes sense to me. I love that you take the time to read and comment here. Your contributions are always thought-full and interesting.

    Check out Deborah's blog "The Temptation of Words" if you have not already, people.

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  23. withholding my inner crazy bitch is a good thing for all...

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  24. Linda Sue: More of us should follow your lead. I know mine has been popping out a lot since I've been on this cleanse thing. I'll have to get a firmer lid!

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  25. i love that quote! i definitely see it as withholding our true self. i am always holding back because of fear, insecurity, etc. so i love anything that makes me want to break out of my cage. thanks for the reminder that it's okay to safely be myself. :)

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  26. Yes, I see. Not committing yourself fully to a person, perhaps, or a talent. Settling for less because it is safer. I guess it boils down to how much fear is present in your life. If you live your life in fear...usually of the unknown.

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  27. withholding the selfish, slothful, conscienceless, not present person that i have had the capacity to be in the past is a gift to myself and all those who i love and all that i value. for a while it was an easy way to avoid the much harder path i have chosen but which i know brings goodness into this world. a super quote. the discussion is amazing. thanks so much bonnie. steven

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