Can’t Keep Quiet
BACKGROUND: In response to her abuse as a child, a singer named MILCK wrote a song called, “Quiet” that became the anthem of the Women’s March in 2017. Since then women all over the world have adopted this searing call to stand up and speak out against oppression. Today is International Women’s Day, 2019.
PROBLEM: The issue of not speaking up is particularly pushed on women and children, due to their secondary status in most societies. Pope Francis, in dealing with the horrendous revelation that some priests were forcing nuns to be their sex slaves, acknowledged that women’s status as second-class citizens contributes to their exploitation. This will only change as women continue to fight against oppression with their voices – in singing, in writing, and in leadership in their chosen fields. The issue of not speaking up includes men when it comes to speaking up about how we feel. In an article probing the five major regrets of dying people by Bronnie Ware (https://bronnieware.com), the third regret was stated as, “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” Ware reports that many dying people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. This resulted in a mediocre existence where they never reached their dreams and many developed illnesses related to carrying lifelong bitterness and resentment. In Bioenergetics, the somatic psychotherapy I practice, we say that containing your emotions constricts your muscles and dampens your spirit. A dampened spirit leads to a diminished capacity for joy.
SOLUTION: I want to acknowledge that in certain settings, it is not appropriate to express our emotions, particularly if it endangers us or others. A small child might suppress his or her fear, anger and hurt at a bullying parent to avoid dire consequences. However, as adults, we are often enslaved not by another adult but by our own fear of exposing our truth and risking some change. When we share how we feel - whether angry, scared, loving, sad or hurt - we risk rejection but we also create an opportunity for deeper intimacy. Bad relationships can fall away and good ones bring more pleasure. When I tell someone how I feel, I sense my restricted breathing, not knowing how I will be received. But usually I am heard and find I can exhale and then I feel lighter. This lightness is the juice of a less burdened, freer, healthier and happier existence.
TIP: Look up and sing your pain, sorrow, anger and joys to the universe above and then look at eye level at the people in your own orbit. Who needs to hear you sing your true feelings?
POSTSCRIPT: For tools on expressing your feelings effectively, see my 2018 notable book award winning book, Communication Breakthrough, How Using Brain Science and Listening to Body Cues Can Transform Your Relationships. #communicationbreakthrough