The effects of holding back on my body

by Lieke, Dentistry Student, Ghent, Belgium

You may think that our lifestyle is just what we eat, how much we exercise and whether we smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs, but I have come to understand that there is a deeper level of lifestyle, or livingness, which includes my whole way of living, that has an effect on how I feel and the health of my body.

One of the things that affects me is holding back.

What is holding back?

Holding back, for me, is to not follow through an impulse that is true and from my heart, and instead not doing it or doing the absolute opposite.

Holding back is not doing something my WHOLE BODY is telling me to do.

It is like feeling extremely joyful, wanting to jump and celebrate and totally go for it, and then being nice, courteous and polite and moving slowly instead.

I have been holding back for most of my life, and through the teachings presented by Universal Medicine and Esoteric Healing sessions, I have come to understand – and have now an absolute knowing for myself – that holding back has an effect on my body. A big one.

What are the effects of holding back on my body?

  • Lower back pain, especially when lying down in bed at night (you may know this one, it is that pain in your lower back that you may try to relieve by pulling your knees up to your tummy, with or without success)
  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling of dullness
  • Heart beating faster and more strongly than usual
  • Anxiousness
  • Tension in my whole body
  • Pain or cold in my lungs, or a sort of unpleasant feeling in my chest
  • Heart burn
  • Constipation, if I do not allow the natural flow of things… it is not a coincidence that my bowel reflects this in not flowing either. As well as the fact that when I am holding back, I often hold back from following my first impulse as to what to eat, which results in my body not getting what it needs to do a proper job. PLUS to not feel all of the above I can choose to eat foods that are numbing my body and actually disrupt the healthy flow of my digestive system.
  • Headache at times, with the frustration of absolutely knowing but not following through my feelings

What is the antidote?

Expressing myself, not holding back and totally going for it when I feel to do something.

Following my impulses and honouring them by listening to them and following them through, even if it does not work out as I expected – it feels way more honouring to do something and not do it perfectly, than not doing it at all.

The healing of holding back is in these small things, but also in expressing what I feel is true and not true in the world.

It is in not holding back from saying something, even if it might not be what others think. Not holding back even when it challenges the status quo.

It is in not holding back showing that I am beautiful and know it.

It is in not holding back my innate joy of living my amazing life.

It is in not holding back the love I feel for all people in this world and expressing it so.

It is in not holding back knowing I am from God and that I am a beautiful being here to express my love and light in the world.

This expressing myself more and more and not holding back makes my body feel lighter, more vital, and extremely joyful. The pain in my lower back has disappeared, my body feels more free in its movements, my back is more straight when I stand, there is a bounce in my steps when I walk and many of the other symptoms are gone and only come back to remind me when I am holding back in an area of my life.

This all is a work in progress, but for sure my way forward.

I am forever inspired by and in deep appreciation of the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom, as presented by Serge Benhayon and his family.


Read more:

  1. No longer holding back in life
  2. From holding myself back to wonderful changes

1,065 thoughts on “The effects of holding back on my body

  1. Thanks Lieke, a great blog, important topic and very relatable. “it feels way more honouring to do something and not do it perfectly, than not doing it at all.” This understanding means we can give ourselves permission to do new things, express in new ways, and honour what feels true without any expectation to ‘know it all’, and that it is a learning process. So often we can hold back because it is a new area.

  2. This is an interesting blog to read because I’m sure so many of us hold back in so many different ways we have been conditioned to be ‘nice’ ‘good’ not rock the boat which really means that society wants to live a certain way and does not want anyone to be a ‘whistle blower’ to the fact that our society isn’t working has never worked because it is built on false foundations in the first place. We were never meant to be here on this plane of life we are in fact the aliens. For the vast majority of us we are involving and not evolving and this is having consequences that we will not like.

  3. When I am holding back I get a lot of knee pain, mostly in my right knee. I am realising that I have wanted something holding me back, some sort of excuse that would justify my immobility. But what I am finding is it’s actually my choice to hold back from how amazing I am.

  4. Lieke, I resonated with the lower back and years ago I used to put it down to the extreme exercise I placed my body under. And now, from time to time, I may experience this pain coming up, and the next time it does, I’ll review my day and how my expression was held back, this is biggie for me. I have held back from speaking for a loooong time and the wishing I had dialogue and conversation then takes hold in my mind and plays havoc.

    The body always communicates to us, it is the best piece of material given to us, it never stops, just like the heart beating. It communicates and repairs even as we sleep. Isn’t it time it was treated with more love and respect?

  5. I am constantly catching myself in how well trained I am in moderating my expression. It happens almost automatically and I am not even consciously manipulating it. It can be very subtle but even the slightest shrinkage or contraction I feel in the body lets me know that I have left me. This is an amazing learning process, being with the body, listening and allowing it to just move on its own accord.

  6. I agree Lieke the healing of holding back is in listening and following through the impulses from our body which always communicates the truth, it is our choice whether we listen and honour our feelings or not but the more we do the more our body naturally responds.

  7. I always find this so practical and relatable, and I have to wonder how many ways holding back has an effect on our health and wellbeing. It truly must take such enormous effort to not be the fullness we are, and then make this reduction of ourselves our normal and live it everyday.

  8. The more I have become aware of the my body and how it feels particularly if I am connected to my absolute essence I feel open, tall, expanded, full and all knowing, yet when I feel myself when I am not connected I can feel the contraction, shutdown, shorter, hard and serious. So the two are a choice I can make and one is extraordinarily amazing and simple, the other is complicated and hard.

  9. ‘Holding back’ is like holding our breath so that our lungs cannot expand to the degree they naturally would were we left to naturally inspire that which is available for us to do so. It is our love that we hold back – our most natural breath.

  10. Thank you for not holding back in sharing all you have learned about the impacts on the body of holding back and the antidote is an inspiration to be all that we are.

  11. Holding back on expressing how we feel and communicating what is happening to others stifles us and clogs up the flow that would otherwise unfold and allow more to unfold.

  12. I really enjoyed the practical approach to what you wrote here Lieke about holding back and it helped me feel into how this has impacted my body in so many ways, especially that lower back pain you mentioned while lying down and now when I hold back expressing something it feels like a knot in my stomach and a dull headache too. This is great to get that immediate feedback from my body so I know that I am holding back living my truth and can then choose otherwise.

  13. Not holding back our awareness is key to supporting the body, as we become more aware of what is going on around us we also become more aware of our own body too.

  14. I absolutely agree – how we express ourselves or don’t express is a big part of our life style, and it has a huge impact on how we express our everyday life. We all know how horrible it feels in our body when we don’t express ourselves in the way we want and when we want, no matter how hard we try justifying it in the name of being ‘good’ or whatever the adjective we would find fit to be acceptable.

  15. I agree Lieke – it doesn’t mean we have to get into confrontations or fights. Not holding back means keeping our awareness in full and not playing it down and can lead to many different outward expressions.

    1. Christoph, that’s where I was muddled, holding back was either a confrontations or fights OR not saying anything at all!…So, now it is being refined, confrontations and fights are out and now the true expression is emerging, without perfection. I don’t always get it “right” as such, but I’m certainly learning more and more. I ponder on each experience and see where my expression may have imposed on another or, expressed what needed to be expressed – I love this moment in my life and discovering more and more of who I truly am.

  16. I keep coming back to this blog when I feel myself holding back, trying to contain my feelings and keep them from seeing the light of day. It’s a lot of hard work for something that creates a lot of pain and tension. There is none when I follow through on expressing how I feel.

  17. Love this full bodied description of what holding back is and how it feels.. holding back to me feels like walking around with the brakes on, being cautious and not stepping forward into what is there to naturally do or express. When we do let go and stop holding back, we feel lighter and more expanded – and are so often offering more than we realise to each other.

  18. Holding back is a form of holding, i.e. tension and over time the body breaks down being held in a way that is not suitable for the body.

  19. The truth of how we are living is always reflected in our body and as you have share this means with everything including if we are holding back. I have also experienced this first-hand and how far more liberating it is to express and follow through with what we are feeling. It makes sense really that we feel freer, more at ease and full when we live and express who we are in essence.

  20. This is a beautiful reminder ‘it feels way more honouring to do something and not do it perfectly, than not doing it at all.’ I have spent so much of my life procrastinating because I was scared of not doing something perfectly and this has definitely had an impact on my body and I have often ended the day with the low back ache that you share about. Thankfully this happens much less but has made a reappearance recently so it is a great call to explore where I am holding back my expression.

  21. Thank you Lieke for the depth of insight that you share here on how our lifestyle can impact our body and wellbeing. I think this is something really key for us all to appreciate and develop our awareness of – the quality of our expression and the consequences of holding back from truly being ourselves and the difference it makes when we don’t hold back too.

  22. Holding back our essence is poisonous, for our whole body and beingness. What you describe here is in many ways relatable to us all. We know it, we have been just living in a way that has been numbing of the fact that we hold back our potential, our truth, our full expression – our love, our light- and playfulness of being. Hence, what you work back from here is hugely important, so that it reveals the mist and we can see through and feel and know back again — who we truly are by our essence, without issues at all.

  23. I’d say for the past two years my body has felt that a certain situation in my life was true to be in and yet there’s a part of me that’s fought tooth and nail against this. Fighting against what my body feels results in a whole lot of pain and it hasn’t changed how my body feels about the situation. A strange notion that if I keep resisting it my body will give in but it doesn’t work like that. Everytime I connect the message is the same.

    1. We can fight our body in ways that we don’t notice what is going on but then can make things worse.

  24. You are talking here about constipation Lieke and even there we can hold back the impulse to go to the toilet when our body says so causing delay in our digestive system and hold on to the old instead of making space in our bodies for what is there to come.

  25. The antidote to so many of our ills is to express and live all that we are and share the love in our heart.

  26. Learning to trust my inner feelings and honestly express them is slowly building an inner confidence to not withdraw so much from life but to engage and contribute to being an equal part in it.

  27. Holding back starts so young in so many people… and it is a profound shift to, at any stage, turn this around and change the way we live and love life.

  28. When I came to understand that “Holding back is not doing something my WHOLE BODY is telling me to do” many light bulbs flashed as the realisation of how I had been living for so long dawned on me. And then I began to understand why my body had struggled so much for so long as the choices I had been making to hold back the amazing me were going against everything my body knew to be true. What an exhausting way to live – exist – that was!

  29. When I hold back, what I am holding back is love that could have been expressed through my movement/words etc., and I am noticing more and more that when this happens, something else is getting expressed and it is very unpleasant to my body, as well as those around me.

  30. Well said Lieke, the way we express or don’t express has a massive impact on our health. When we look at medicine it is wise to not only take into account different options of medication but also how we eat, drink, move, breath and express.

  31. Holding back can have very obvious physical impacts – one I notice in myself is a hardness in my shoulders, upper arms and the back, like I am protecting or bracing against life, which then leaves my chest very shut down and hard, like I have caved it in. This might not seem too bad in a sense, but I know that I then carry this with me in my day, impacting my openness with people because my body is communicating a level of closed off-ness to them.

  32. There are so many reasons we may use to hold ourselves back. It is actually painful in the body to do so. Usually it is our mind that feeds us all the reasons we should hold back, and it is the body that cops it. We have a little struggle going on between the body and the mind and which one we should follow. Ultimately the truth lies in the body and we cannot ignore it.

  33. When we think of maintaining good health we often think about exercise, nutritious food and plenty of sleep, but perhaps we need to add expressing ourselves in full to complete the list!

  34. From reading your ‘effects of holding back’ list it is so obvious how doing so affects our body, something that most of us would not realise. I didn’t realise until recently that the many symptoms that you quote, and I experienced, were actually as a result of my holding back my expression of who I am and the truth as I knew it to be. But today, with the understanding of my body that is growing daily, I can now tell instantly when I have held back from expressing all of me as my body speaks so very loudly. And these days I listen!

  35. Thank you Lieke, this is always such a healing read and very supportive, it feels like all you have shared here is timeless in its wisdom. I really enjoyed your dot points on the antidote for holding back, including “Expressing myself, not holding back and totally going for it when I feel to do something.”, and “It is in not holding back knowing I am from God and that I am a beautiful being here to express my love and light in the world.” Thank you Lieke, very inspiring.

  36. Thank you Lieke for highlighting the effects of holding back and the impact this has on our body and everything around us. When we speak our truth from what we are feeling within us we feel our body truly respond as this is how we are naturally designed to express ourselves.

  37. Lieke, this I feel is important to remember everyday; ‘It is in not holding back knowing I am from God and that I am a beautiful being here to express my love and light in the world.’ This feels like our true purpose.

  38. Holding back is a pattern of movement whereby we confirm that life is dull and grey and so we are. This is the pattern of movement we have said yes to. This pattern of movement affects us because every movement communicates to ourselves that we are less than what we naturally are.

  39. I was in a meeting the other day and held back from expressing something that was clearly in my body to expressed but I held back. I could not only feel the impact this had on my body but also feel how in not expressing, something of great value had not been shared.. however after the meeting I was aware it was still in my body so I expressed it to one of the people present, we discussed it and much was gained from it, also my body felt so much lighter. Holding back is a big pattern of mine and a work in progress in not, and more and more I realise the importance of expressing all that is there to be expressed, and not just verbally.

    1. That’s great Ruth, it’s a process of observing this in ourselves and how it honestly feels when we hold back, as well as how our body responds when we do not hold back and instead express fully. Everyday is an opportunity to observe and learn, to develop wisdom, and to implement new ways of being in the world that are true to our body and to our innate essence of love.

      1. Yes Melinda and I love the learning and guidance from my body, how it shows me exactly my choices in how and when I am holding back with this so I can work with it.

  40. Holding back in myself has created enormous tension in my body with numerous aches and pains. Letting go and expressing myself in truth more and more supports my body to open and loosen up.

    1. I find my body speaks very loudly with holding back, particularly when I don’t write or verbally share what’s was there to be expressed. For me calf muscle pain and general exhaustion are symptoms common in my body.

  41. I know the frustration I have been feeling during all my life has come from holding back my natural expression. Acting nice caused headaches, migraines and exhaustion, no wonder as it takes a lot of energy to suppress innate joy and love.

  42. Having a bounce in our step shouldn’t constitute a ‘rare’ and particularly amazing day, it should be a normal standard. Maintaining this bounce is something we can develop by observing life and not taking issues on or letting ourselves be swayed by exterior influences/forces out to knock us off track.

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