In order to heal, Speak Up! Silence IS the disease. — Dr. Christiane Northrup
We hear of so many “silent” diseases today — everything from thyroid disease to heart disease, kidney and liver dysfunction to Celiac disease, and from “female problems” to the now-popular Lyme disease. And, just look at all the new books there are recounting someone’s “suffering in silence” from one of these and many other diseases!
But, what is really going here? I’ll tell you: Silence IS the disease.
Women are often the ones who suffer their symptoms in silence. Often they have been shamed by doctors who don’t want to hear how the standard protocols don’t help them. This is the same thing as being bullied! However, it’s far more subtle than outright bullying. For example, how many of you have been handed a referral to a psychiatrist or worse, a prescription for anti-depressants, and a reputation for being a difficult patient just because you spoke up to your doctor? And, sometimes even your own family members (both male and female) are the ones who are insensitive when you express discomfort or ask for support. As such, many women feel guilty about speaking up about their symptoms.
Much of this has to do with our patriarchal society and the belief that the masculine ways of being (and doing) are superior to the feminine ways of being (and doing). This programming has been a part of World culture for thousands of years. And after 5,000 years of patriarchal programming, it’s no surprise that women get sick in the uniquely female areas of their bodies or have unique expressions of other diseases manifesting in symptoms that cannot be healed through the conventional ways of doing things. The irony here is that our health care system is designed around the belief that a woman’s body will eventually cause suffering and pain, and she will ultimately require a great deal of testing and medical care from the system that won’t listen to her in the first place.
In Order To Heal, Speak Up
All illnesses are designed to stop you in your tracks, make you rest, and bring your attention back to the things that are really important and that give your life meaning and joy. However, in my experience and what I have seen with my patients over the years, you can’t fully feel joy if you don’t express yourself.
Yet, self-expression can be difficult. Many of us did not have role models who demonstrated healthy communication. Perhaps, you grew up with many siblings and it was chaotic and loud in your home so you stayed quiet to avoid contributing to the chaos. Or, perhaps you were taught to only speak when spoken to, or to only speak if you had something nice to say. Maybe, your mother kept silent, never voicing her opinions or feelings. Or, perhaps you were actually told to stay quiet because of a family secret, such as alcoholism or sexual abuse.
There may be many reasons that contribute to your code of silence. An important step in relieving any symptoms in your body is to shift the pattern of being a silent victim and speak your truth. Speaking up shifts your vibration and elevates you to a place where you can begin to heal. This is not always easy and sometimes there are many layers to deal with. I know this first hand.
I used to have canker sores repeatedly as a kid. If you’ve ever had them, you know how painful they can be. I hadn’t had one for many years. And then this summer I got a big one right under my tongue in the front of my mouth. It manifested on a visit to my childhood home – it arose just about the time I arrived and lasted for the entire visit! Clearly my childhood self was trying to get my attention. During my visit I was acutely conscious of how much I have changed and grown over the years when it comes to my relationship with my mother. I resisted the urge to try to “rescue” her emotionally – a pattern that started when I was 4 years old — even though the opportunity presented itself repeatedly. Instead, I talked out my observations with another family member who also saw the pattern clearly, and together we did a lot of healing.
8 Tips for How YOU Can Learn to Speak Up
Improving your diet and lifestyle are not enough to relieve all of your symptoms or conditions. In order to heal, you need to find your voice and express what you feel.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Find a doctor you can partner with. The secret to thriving is knowing that you are never simply a victim of your body or other peoples’ perceptions of it – including your doctor’s! Find a health care practitioner who you feel comfortable talking to. When you can voice your own opinions, intuition, concerns and wishes, you will feel more positive about recovering your health.
- Surround yourself with friends who want you to be healthy. You know the saying, “misery loves company.” Many people find friends that have the same health issues and then spend their time together dwelling on their symptoms. This can also run in families. While its good to be able to express how you are feeling, it’s the expression itself that heals. When you dwell on your symptoms and relive them over and over, you are actually perpetuating your illness. Find friends who have good health and healthy habits, who will listen to you, but will also encourage you.
- Speak kindly about your body. Often when people are sick — especially when they are living with a chronic condition – they have a tendency to get frustrated and speak in a less-than-loving manner about their bodies. Healing your physical symptoms starts by changing your perception of your body and speaking about it, and to it, with love. This allows you to own your role in your own healing process. If you don’t know where to begin, simply start by saying “I love and accept myself in this body unconditionally.” Say this out loud in front of mirror every day. If you have a specific issue or symptom, you can say “despite my headaches (fill in the blank), I love and accept myself unconditionally.”
- Practice having your say. If you are having trouble speaking to someone about your symptoms or conditions – whether it’s your doctor, a family member, work colleagues or friends – practice what you need to convey to them ahead of time. You can even write down bullet points or an entire script to help you. If you feel that you will not be given the time to say what you need to tell someone, make an appointment. Don’t short change yourself if someone says they have limited time. Say you will reschedule and then follow up.
- Know that the act of speaking up is enough. Often I hear women say, “I don’t speak up because I am never heard.” Or, “no one listens when I speak.” The reality is, you are heard more than you know. That does not mean everyone will want to engage you on your level. And that’s ok. Your truth is your truth. It may not be anyone else’s. However, your truth is valid! You deserve to speak it and to be heard. However, you will never be able to control how someone perceives you, so release your attachment to being heard or having what you say validated. The simple act of speaking up for yourself helps to heal your body and your soul. As you speak up more, you will begin to attract those people who are willing to listen. You can also practice saying “my voice is necessary. What I have to say is valuable.”
- Be truthful – always. When someone asks you how you are, do you always say “I’m fine,” even when you are not feeling well? The best way to honor yourself and your body is to learn to speak your truth to others, and also to yourself. Truth carries a higher vibration and not speaking your truth, or stuffing it down by being silent, can weaken your energy field (aura). You can start simply by saying “I am not feeling very well today,” or “I feel pain today in my joints,” or whatever your symptoms are. Don’t elaborate or complain. Just the act of stating how you feel is enough. When you release the pattern of being silent, you begin to shift from victim to healer. Be sure to also say “I trust my body to heal,” or “I have my strength,” or some other positive affirmation to let your cells know you are focused on healing.
- Write a truth letter. Sometimes it doesn’t benefit us to confront a person with our truth. For example, perhaps you are caring for a sick, elderly parent and the timing isn’t right. Or, maybe you continue to re-hash the way an employer treated you poorly years ago. In this case, I recommend you write a letter to clear the air. Write as though you are going to mail the letter and take responsibility for your part in the situation. You do this by writing in the first person – “I feel” — as opposed to the third person – “you did this.” You can mail, save, or even burn the letter when you’re done.
- Re-establish the link between your head and your heart. No matter how much we know spiritually, we still have a body on this Earth. The only way we can align our souls with our bodies is by expressing ourselves through our words. Think of your voice as the mediator between your head and your heart. What do you truly desire? What do you stand for? By speaking about your desires and beliefs, you begin to separate your fears from your truth. It may not change your reality, but it jump-starts the healing process. Speaking my truth didn’t change the facts of my family situation. It didn’t change the outcome of events. But it changed me – and healed my canker sore!