Stifle just suggests preventing a natural part of being. Stifling a laugh seems to be the proper thing to do when laughing out loud would be inappropriate. But when you move to stifling growth, it seems to be inappropriate. You move along to stifling your own life, well that seems to be something that we all do but now we are just used to it.
We need to think that we are stifling our lives as if we are stifling laugher. Just think what that would be like if we lived unstifled!