Our bodies send secret messages.
I recently discovered that my body has a way of giving me away when I am nervous. I can usually appear very calm when I am under pressure—except for my lips. If I am in an uncomfortable conversation or encounter, I tend to pull my lips in and press them tightly together. My lips hold on to the tension I’m feeling because I don’t want to speak about it or acknowledge it.
I think the lip-press is also my body’s way of trying to signal me that, “All is not well, I need help!” Too often I don’t want to verbalize my discomfort in the moment because I fear what someone will think. Instead of letting someone know that I am uncomfortable with them, I hold the discomfort and store it in my body.
Another interesting “body signal” that I have surfaces when I am in pain. If I am experiencing pain in one part of my body, I often try to work it out through my feet. Without realizing it, I start circling my ankles around and cringing my toes back and forth, hoping to release some of the pain through my lower extremities. I’m pretty sure I’ve been doing this unknowingly for years, but recently discovered that my toe-cringe is likely my “best effort” attempt at trying to move some of the pain out of my body without having to address it directly. In some way my body is trying to help me. It is moving itself in such a way that says, “Something is not right, I need help!”
My body’s cry for help through the pressing of lips and the cringing of toes is a way of saying:
“I need you to listen to me, and to change something. I’m not comfortable and I need you to care for me.”
My body is trying to verbalize what my voice fears speaking, yet desperately needs to be heard.
Society would like for us to believe that the worst thing our bodies can hold on to is fat or “extra” weight. But I believe that it is far more dangerous to hold on to some of the feelings and stories and memories that get stored in every nook and cranny of our bodies.
Experiences of pain, anxiety, shame, and fear all get pressed down and held in to our shoulder blades, neck muscles, rib cages and ankle bones. They get stored in the body in such a way that makes them very difficult to extract. Yet they can wreck havoc on the body’s functionality when there is no relief.
These feelings and stories desperately need to be heard, to be understood and relieved. Where in your body are you holding your tension? Your shame? Your fear of speaking up about something that’s hurting you? Allowing yourself to say to someone, “I need to pause for a moment because I am feeling really uncomfortable with how you are speaking to me,” or “I’m really embarrassed about what just happened, I need to take a moment to acknowledge that” can be very uncomfortable. But acknowledging it or verbalizing it will take far less of a toll on your body than holding on to your discomfort in silence.
How is your body asking you for care? What secret messages do you need to acknowledge?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tracy Ziebell: It has been said that I am a “wild woman of awe.” I believe that experiencing the awe of life brings us more fully alive. I have a contagious spirit for adventure that has moved me across the US on more than one occasion. For more about me, CLICK HERE.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);