May 13, 2016 at 12:00 am
Today I planned to write about how I have experienced personal growth by listening to my body and accepting my chronic illnesses. But I can’t write that because it would be a lie.
I have a wavering commitment to accepting my chronic illnesses. There are times when I am totally down with everything and will even admit to others that I have them. When I do share this information I feel like I have grown in my journey, and I feel proud of myself for being in that place. But there are other times when I feel “I am not going out like that!” and rail against what is happening to me. I go back and forth on accepting my illnesses.
How does hearing what your body is saying help you to accept what you are experiencing? What constitutes “acceptance” for you? What, in turn, comes about as a result of acceptance?
#acceptance #personalgrowth #self-growth
May 13, 2016 at 12:11 am
Very recently, I have come to a fresh perspective about what acceptance means to me. There is a phrase in Belleruth Naparstek’s Healing Trauma CD, Affirmations: “[More and more, I understand that]…my body is my friend, my oldest ally, and my steadiest companion.” I have been listening to the Healing Trauma affirmations on and off for two years now. When I first I heard the affirmation about my body being my friend and ally, I thought “No! My body has actually betrayed me.” However, I would say the affirmation to myself anyway.
Are you familiar with the theory of cognitive dissonance? As humans we prefer internal consistency, and when we perform an action that is contradictory to our beliefs, ideas, or values we experience a lack of consistency, or dissonance. This makes us psychologically uncomfortable and we are motivated to try to reduce this discomfort. While I repeated the affirmation that my body was my steadiest companion, what I experienced was cognitive dissonance; over time my psyche began to resolve the conflict between the affirmation and my belief. The affirmation eventually became true for me. Thinking about my body and my illnesses is a little different now.
When my son was young I remember learning the concept of separating the child from the behavior. In other words, when the child had performed some negative behavior you were to remember that the child was not the behavior – it was perfectly normal to love the child and hate the behavior. You could say to your child, “I love you, but I don’t like your behavior”, so the child wouldn’t think that your anger with their actions meant that you didn’t love them anymore.
Using this concept I have re-framed the way I see my body now: I accept my body but I don’t like its behavior (the chronic illnesses). I don’t confuse my illnesses with my body, they are two separate things. This allows me to see that my body is genetically predisposed to having certain issues (such as a faulty central nervous system or digestive system) which is not its fault, and it has no way for it (or me) to reverse. If I were born with a hole in my heart or only one arm, I would not try to live as though these conditions didn’t exist; I would (have to) accept them. I would most likely not appreciate the symptoms and complications they would cause and wouldn’t necessarily accept those things, but I would accept my body’s limitations.
For me at least, this is the crux of acceptance. As it is much easier for me to love my child than to love his negative behavior, it is much easier for me to accept my body with its certain built-in flaws than to accept the symptoms and illnesses caused by those flaws. I manage my illness; I accept my body and its limitations. My body is my friend, my oldest ally, and my steadiest companion, and together we will see each other through to the end.
#acceptance #personalgrowth #affirmations #cognitivedissonance #healingtrauma #mybodyismyfriend #journeyofselfgrowth
May 18, 2016 at 12:44 pm
This is very helpful to me. Sometimes I felt like when I said “I have Lyme” that I was identifying myself with the illness. That is not what I wish to do. Your perspective of separating your body from the behavior of the illness is great. It helps me to have that perspective in order to be kinder to my body. It’s doing the best that it can given the situation. It’s the illness that I am battling against, not my body. Thanks for reminding me about the Healing Trauma CD. Yes, my body is my oldest friend.
#mybodymyfriend #bekindertomybody #healingtrauma
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