When you don’t use your voice, you will make yourself sick. There’s been research that shows that if you have positive relationships with friends and family that you’ll be in better health.

And when all of your relationships are fueled by negativity – constant conflict of some kind – you’ll likely will increase your health problems.

As a recovering co-dependent and someone who was abused, neglected and trying to survive in this world, accepting my circumstances and being quiet was a method of survival. Even in my marriage, I didn’t stand up for myself, I catered to my family and just went about my die – quiet and subdued.

Other studies have found that the more conflict you have in your relationships – especially those with your partner, then you are increasing your chances to die sooner rather than later. (Dr. Elaine Eaker)

But just why is it so hard for you to speak up?

In my case it was pure protection of self and survival and I think in general we aren’t “supposed” to talk about our feelings and that we have been conditioned that if we raise our voice and express our anger that we will experience the consequences – be it a physical threat, fear of losing our family and our financial security.

And when you look at all of the emotions that occur in that chaos, it creates stress which can affect your heart and damage it. It’s important that you have a safe space where you can express yourself – not just for your physical health but your emotional health. And it’s hard.

It’s so challenging to finally find your voice and find the courage to actually use it. And it’s something that I have to work hard every single day. Every time I feel a bit of distress or my boundaries are being crossed it takes me days to finally be brave enough to share that with my partner. Even if my partner can recognize somethings up.

Something that I’ve found incredibly helpful is to have a best friend and I am incredibly lucky to have a relationship with her where I can be 100% unapologetically me and be vulnerable. She will hold space, be a voice of reason and gives me her thoughts.

We’ve been friends for 10 years and she always reminds me about how far I’ve come in my own personal journey from co-dependent to being someone who is independent with a voice.

And just for the record, being independent doesn’t mean you do everything alone and by yourself without the help and support from others.

And if you don’t have one of those, then be open and willing to seek a therapist. I think it’s high-tide that we stop looking down on our mental health as something bad. If you’re not well you seek help – whether that is physically or mentally.

Dream + Play Bigger

Cheers,

Petra