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Repressing The Real You Makes You Sick (For Real)

Lissa Rankin's picture

I write a lot about authenticity, being unapologetically YOU, and letting your freak flag fly. In my TEDx talk, I spoke about the importance of tapping into your Inner Pilot Light and living in alignment with what’s true for you as a means of both preventative medicine and medical treatment. And in my upcoming book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), I make the assertion that caring for your body is the least important part of your health and that expressing your true self in all aspects of your life is the most important part.

But you might not believe me. How can authenticity and disease be linked?

As research for my next book, I’m reading the book Consciousness & Healing. In a chapter co-written by the phenomenal Candace Pert, a study was referenced that blew me away.

Authenticity & Disease Progression

Steve Cole and his colleagues at UCLA investigated HIV-positive gay men to determine whether how “out” vs. “closeted” they were with their homosexuality affected disease progression. Study participants were asked to rate themselves as “definitely in the closet,” “in the closet most the time,” “half in and half out,” “out most of the time,” or “completely out of the closet.”

Researchers then followed the course of their disease.

What did they find?

Hiding Who You Are - Whether From Yourself or Others - Makes You Sick

Bingo.  On all counts, HIV infection advanced more quickly in direct proportion to how out “of the closet” the patients were. The more they lived in alignment with their truth, the healthier they were. And the results weren’t subtle. Those that were mostly or all the way in the closet hit critically low CD4 counts 40% faster than those who were mostly or all the way out, with a 21% reduction in time to death.

Other data suggests that this isn’t just true for AIDS. Concealing your identity - whether you’re hiding your unhappiness in your marriage, your dissatisfaction at work, your frustration with how creatively thwarted you feel while raising three kids, or your sexual frustration in a partnership where you’re not getting any - can compromise your ability to heal.

Repression of your true feelings is bad for your health. Unfettered expression of who you are ramps up your inherent physiological self-healing mechanisms.

Being unapologetically YOU is also the ticket to emotional freedom, more open-hearted relationships, better business success, a deeper connection to Source, and more restful sleep!

It’s your choice.

Are you in the closet in your life?

Are you living in alignment with your truth? Do you even know what your truth is?

If you’re not sure or you need help coming out in all aspects of your life, accept the invitation to align with your truth and take a daily dose of preventative medicine by signing up for free daily messages from your Inner Pilot Light.

What can you do to more closely align with your truth? Let us be your witnesses.

Holding the door wide open,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.comPink Medicine Revolutionarymotivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.



Anonymous's picture

Healing myself

I've been trying my best to be the real me, for over two years now. I meet resistance from so many people, even my own Mother and sisters. As usual, they just want me to be quiet and get along with everybody.

It's been a struggle, but I've been able to get rid of at least 2 or 3 toxic people in my life.

Sometimes, the hardest part is getting people to understand that I'm not trying to be mean, just - Real. It's always been easy for me to stand up for other people, but when I try to stand up for myself, people think that equates to selfishness. I think it's more like 'self awareness.'

Anonymous's picture


It is truly amazing how the universe is always showing up with exactly the precise message you need to hear in the right moment you are ready to listen. As a woman, ten years ago I was "blindsided" by falling in love with a woman. She, too, was blindsided and placed limitations on our relationship as she lived with her sister. She was unwilling to honor and celebrate our love for one another. We existed, loved, in secret. In public, every gesture had to be monitored. During this time, my health suffered which resulted in a hysterectomy. We are friends, but no longer lovers and the emotional pain from this secret continues to leak out of my heart. I keep thinking something is wrong with me because of this. And now, all these years later, she is suffering from depression.

Anonymous's picture

Being yourself

This certainly speaks to me. I can feel how true & important this is, but in reality I find it a struggle to know which voice in myself to listen to. Different parts seem to always pull me in opposite directions. I know you talk about everyone's 'inner pilot light'. How do I know what is my IPL talking, and what's some other voice? Keep writing though - it rings true. Thank you for sharing

littlephoenix's picture

Thank you

Thanks for this great post. A few months ago I figured out something that I really believe has helped my overall well-being.

I experienced trauma at age 12, but instead of getting support to talk about it and truly heal, I was medicated. The meds silenced me. Over the past few years, I had multiple serious throat infections which required antibiotics. I really believe that the psychological effects of being silenced (rather than witnessed) contributed; my body was trying to tell me how silenced I had been by literally taking my voice.

Since I have figured that out, I have not had a bad throat infection since -- my immune system has been able to fight them off.

Thanks again!

Kaitlyn's picture

This is incredible...

My jaw literally dropped! The injured individual, scientist, and woman in me appreciate this equally! Thank you for sharing. xo

Tracy's picture

I saw this while taking a

I saw this while taking a break from writing a post about this very subject! Talk about synchronicity. I've recently realized that I have tried to "shrink to fit" for most of my life, and have seen that my health issues follow along behind the periods of time where I've shrunk the most. My next step back into the light is simply to admit where I've been and that I don't want to do that anymore.

Love your work, Lissa! Thanks for being confirmation for me today. :)

jeannie's picture

really needed to hear that

really needed to hear that this morning! thank u! :)

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