If you’re a mom, I can almost guarantee you’ve said this to your kids at one point or another:
“Use your words!”
It’s usually either because we want them to stop whining/screaming and actually tell us what they want, or because we want them to redirect anger or frustration into words so that we can talk to them about it.
It’s good advice—too bad we so rarely follow it for ourselves.
Finding Your Voice
Almost all of the clients I see for thyroid and autoimmune disease have very similar characteristics. (I am including myself in this group!)
- They are type-A people who put pressure on themselves to do it all.
- They are nurturers who take care of everyone else; often putting their own needs on the back burner.
- Most of them are self-admitted control freaks.
- Although type-A, they tend to really be shy, timid, or insecure. They worry about what others think of them.
- They tend to avoid conflict at all costs. They don’t feel safe or comfortable in arguments and feel easily overpowered by others.
- When they try to confront others, they are either so choked up or blocked that they can’t, or they tend to come across far too aggressively. (This is so me!)
- They often feel isolated from others, even family. They often feel that there are things they cannot share about themselves, such as their beliefs or life choices, and they have to hide who they really are because they want the love and approval of others.
- They may have experienced abuse or felt embarrassed by family members and felt they had to keep things hidden from others.
- They tend to be chatty cathy’s and drain their energetic reserves when in contact with others.
- They often crave attention and need to feel listened to, appreciated, and understood.
- Because they have challenges in expressing themselves directly, they tend to feel angry or resentful towards others because they cannot confront them and they feel like they don’t have a voice.
Any of that sound familiar?
From an emotional and energetic perspective, thyroid dysfunction is a disorder of the 5th chakra, or your body’s center of communication. The 5th chakra gets blocked when we don’t speak our truths and we don’t speak up for ourselves. Due to this lack of open expression, the 5th chakra gets blocked so energetically it will manifest itself as a thyroid disorder.
When you don’t communicate your feelings, when you squash what’s inside, your body reacts in ways to make you notice and put you back in balance. When you have Hashimoto’s/autoimmune thryroiditis, your body is literally attacking itself. You are attacking your thyroid, the seat of communication.
It makes sense, then (in a spiritual, bigger picture kind of way) that finding and using your voice, both literally and figuratively, can provide relief to your embattled thyroid.
Finding my voice and silencing my critic
My first foray into facing my inner critic came a few years ago through the most therapeutic and impactful course I’ve ever taken called Write To Be You. Rory, the creator of Write To Be You, has this great way of hinting at what we’ll be in for at the beginning of each class by posting a picture/quote on her front door for us to read as we go in. I don’t remember the little clue she gave us on the inner critic day but I had clearly not attended to it because if I’d realized what we were in for, I might have just run right back out the door! I don’t know that I would have felt ready to dive that deep that soon so I’m glad I didn’t realize what was about to occur. It must have been my subconscious mind safeguarding me from my own analytical ways.
So there I go skipping into the lion’s den not knowing we’re about to slay my most powerful frenemy—my inner critic. The exercise Rory had us do was remarkable. She first talked about the inner critic and the importance of at least turning the volume down on this character if we can’t eliminate her completely.
We wrote a letter to ourselves from the inner critic and let her run wild! She could and did say anything—the worst of the worst…all our critical, cruel, self-loathing, judgmental thoughts about ourselves. After we dumped all that on paper, we burned it ceremoniously in the fire. These words and thoughts don’t serve us and they’re merely the thoughts of a petulant being trying to control us.
Then, Rory gave us beautiful stationery to write a love letter to ourselves and to write out what is beautiful and wonderful about ourselves (of which there is plenty). We placed those letters in envelopes that we had adorned with lovely decorations which we were meant to take out and read whenever the inner critic decided to avail us of her presence.
Do you know what happened after doing this exercise? My inner critic all but disappeared. As we burned our letters, I physically felt her leave my body. And while she’s dropped by here and there from time to time, her power has pretty much vanished…in fact, I have never had to dig out my love letter to myself. My inner love bug always bounds up to the front of the class when ol’ crazy inner critic enters the room and keeps her sitting quietly in the corner; relatively silenced.
How to shut down your own inner critic
You can easily replicate this exercise at home, or try any of these techniques for yourself:
- Begin journaling with writing prompts which you can find on Rory’s Write To Be You blog and at Wild Words.
- You can also use the steps of nonviolent communication to step back from your inner critic and strip her of her power:
- Start by simply observing what is happening. What is your inner critic saying or doing? Is it in response to something in your life? Try to articulate what is happening in non-judgemental language.
- Ask yourself how you feel in response to what your inner critic is saying.
- Next identify your needs as they relate to that feeling. Put all together, this might sound like: “When my inner critic starts telling me that I shouldn’t even try something because I’ll fail, I feel angry and sad because I need to feel supported around the things I want to do.”
- Practice articulating these things as clearly as possible—out loud or in your journal—to get tons of clarity and insight and to turn down the volume on that inner critic.
Do you struggle with that little voice inside your head that keeps putting you down? I’d love to hear your challenges or strategies for overcoming it in the comments below.