No really, shut up, and just shove the cake in your mouth.
This is what we are essentially telling ourselves when we silence our "voices".
By voice I mean that little indescribable poke at the bottom of our throats, somewhere right above the heart. This may feel like a lump stuck in your voice box or even a tingly prick in your chest. Either way, it's that thing that causes us to "bite our tongues".
Well after biting our tongues for too long it becomes apparent we run the risk of severing it off completely so we kinda sorta stop.
But instead of letting that little beast out, we shove it down.
With food. After all we still have to keep that sucker distracted.
Otherwise we run the risk of "losing it all", "saying something stupid", "looking selfish or mean or demanding". All the rapid fire negative self talk.
Let me let you in on something.
There are now SEVERAL studies out there ( I won't bore you with the scientific details ) that prove self-silencing or the suppression of your "voice" have been related to mental health problems, including depression AND DISORDERED EATING.
I can BET that you have come home after work several times in a whirl wind fire ball of stress over your boss's absolutely ridiculous request for you to work that extra shift WHILE sick, and eaten anything within mouths reach.
I know I've done it.
WHY does this happen?? Well I could get into how it probably has something to do with your parents shoving food down your throat to shut up your fit throwing toddler self but that should stay in the confines of a therapy office.
So, what I will share with you is that many of us (especially women) have high levels of emotional awareness, meaning that we KNOW when and why we are upset or stressed and what we NEED. BUT we continue to press the "MUTE" button on our voices, our needs, wants, desires, and opinions.
What does this mean for our health and weight?
I'm sure you've already guessed right: It means MORE emotional eating, more health problems, and more weight gain.
I can absolutely attest to this being the truth. Many times when I would silence my voice in my life I would find myself shoving food into my mouth as a soothing distraction to the agony I felt over not feeling like I could express myself fully.
At work, if my boss said something hurtful or asked too much of me, you can bet I would pop pretty little truffles (an ever so convenient item we sold) into my mouth throughout the day until the waves of intense emotions died to a dull but constant splash that I could "manage". It would often take 3 or more to get to the "manageable" state.
Now I knew exactly why I was upset (she was out of line and disrespectful) but I still chose self-silencing because I was too afraid to stand up for myself.
Through a lot of inner work, coaching AND many trial and error episodes, I was better able to understand the mechanism around my disordered eating. And therefore, I could stop it (or not) in it's tracks. I am glad to say that I no longer pop a truffle in my mouth when shit hits the fan at work.
This also is the result of fostering confidence in myself so that I could stand in my "voice" with conviction.
Greater emotional clarity in conjunction with less self-silencing will lead to more intuitive eating behaviors and less disorder around food.
However, higher amounts of clarity combined with equally as high self-silencing actually leads to MORE disordered food behavior.
So it's clear using our "voices" can still be scary and daunting despite our radical self awareness.
My suggestion for you is to take BABY STEPS. It's how I started.
Some ideas on how to slowly strengthen your voice:
Did the barista forget to add in your soy milk to your iced coffee? Instead of brushing it off, ASK for them to correct it. Does your boyfriend keep texting you after you told him you were going to sleep? Tell him you love him but that you really need to get to sleep and will continue the conversation tomorrow. If he keeps texting, ignore him (sorry boys). Is your boss guilting you into working extra shift after extra shift? Kindly tell her you are unable to work due to a prior engagement (even if its not true). Is your boss CONSTANTLY speaking over you or gossiping? ENGAGE in another activity. Are you needing more "me" time but keep getting interrupted? SCHEDULE it in. Make in non-negotiable. Schedule a massage, a pedicure, a movie, a book or coffee date with yourself. You don't have to explain it to any one, simply just say you are unavailable or busy during that time and will need to reschedule.
Sometimes you don't have to even use your literal voice in order to express yourself. Actions are just as powerful for getting what you need. People have a hard time truly listening and hearing you anyway so taking action and following through with it may be the only way to show that you are serious about your "voice". I have found this to be even more effective than "speaking up".
Using your "voice" is a just like any other muscle. You've got to work it. Build it up. Meet yourself where you are. And before you know it you'll have some nice ass guns to show off!!
And also a little less cake in your mouth.
As always I LOVE hearing from you and I would freaking LOVE to know what you guys are doing to use your "voice" and what happens.
So feel free to press "reply" or head on over to FB and leave me a comment.