Last week I wrote about the primitive instinct to “freeze or surrender,” and how this affects your body. This may also explain why you are sometimes cut off from saying your truth, but the inability to speak up is also cemented in place by the subtle and sometimes not so subtle messages you got as a child. Some common ones being, “Who do you think you are?" and "Children should be seen and not heard.” Dependent on others for care and wanting to fit in and be liked, may have prompted you as a girl, adolescent, even a young woman, to adapt away from your truth— to stifle your voice. By the time your an adult, it’s a habit.
If you don’t let your voice out, it stays inside. It grows in your belly and you stuff it back down, and then you die with all your secrets and fears and hate and your voice still lodged within your throat. It you don’t let it out, it will bloat you during life, if not evident in your body, then definitely evident in your attitude. And that’s not living in for your best mind or body.
You need to speak up even when you’re afraid to. Exercising and sharing your voice with truthful, respectful women is how you heal. Also, speaking up in a way that is respectful to others will benefit you most because this is how you build good feelings about yourself. This is worthy of striving for—to have the best relationship with yourself so that your energy attracts the best of what life has to offer. Practice self-respect and learn to speak up by:
- Owning your thoughts and feelings first by spending quality time with yourself so you know what is your truth and not someone else's
- Thinking about the reaction or outcome you’d like to have when you talk
- Practicing out loud either by yourself and/or with people you trust
- Doing it—it will never be perfect or right so let go of that
- Evaluating the reaction you got, contrasted to the outcome you wanted and readjusting for next time
I write in chapter one of my memoir, Adaptation, about the circumstances surrounding my disconnection from my own body and voice and how that affected me with boys and men. In later chapters, I relate stories about reclaiming not only my voice but learning to make peace with my anger. It wasn’t elegant. It was hostile and caustic when it emerged initially, but it had to tumble out in order to be banished from my person so I could get to a place of peace and freedom.
Joyfulness and lightness of spirit can be yours as well.
Keep striving to voice your truth in a way that is the least offensive to someone else so that afterwards you don’t have shame or remorse. Archie Bunker, in the 1970’s sitcom, All in the Family, made us all laugh with the phrase, “Stifle Edith.” But it is no laughing matter when you squelch a feeling or truth that needs to be said. Honesty coupled with compassion shows inner peace. Truthfulness mingled with certainty indicates strength. Integrity laced with experience exposes wisdom. That is living for your best body and mind.