As a holistic life coach and licensed psychotherapist, I've witnessed hundreds of people, myself included, attack themselves with their own words of self-sabotage. These words, when repeated often enough, become the foundation of our belief systems. Over time, the layers of beliefs we collect shape everything from the cells in our bodies to our home environment.
When it came to recovering from chronic illness, I learned very quickly that my world was a direct reflection of these five common beliefs which seemed to play in a continuous loop in my subconscious mind on a regular basis for years. Here are those beliefs and how I reframed them.
1. I'm alone.
Reframe: I'm connected. No matter what our fears may tell us, we are all interconnected in a collective consciousness, just as animals are with each other.
There's always someone who understands the feelings we experience. All I had to do was walk my fingers across a keyboard to find those souls. I developed more nourishing relationships while bedridden than at any other time in my life. I no longer misuse my energy on relationships that do not feed my mind, body and spirit.
Once we're clear on what we want, all we have to do is ask for it. For me, this meant finding a community full of compassionate people who all shared in my mission of health and wellness.
2. I'm broken.
Reframe: I'm layered. Experiencing painful chronic symptoms of any kind (emotional, physical, mental or spiritual) can distract us from intentionally creating our own lives. Pain is disruptive and confusing, but it manifested in my life for a multitude of reasons. In order to understand the toxic state I experienced, I slowly and gently peeled back the layers of choices that lead me here.
This is not about blame; it's about truly owning the fact that I can design my own experience with awareness from this point forward.
3. I'm unlovable.
Reframe: I am love itself. We come into this world completely free of judgments, which some may call the very definition of love. So, everyone is lovable, we just don't always remember that based on the judgments we acquire. It's hard to type this, but I had to recognize that I wasn't very loving to myself throughout my life. In fact, I had quite the inner bully living in my head picking me a part, just like so many of my clients.
The way I transformed that bully into a cheerleader was through radical self-care. This means saying yes to ourselves first and foremost 100% of the time. We must begin again from a place of re-parenting ourselves.
4. I'm abnormal.
Reframe: I'm my own normal. "Is this normal?" was usually the first question I'd ask nearly every doctor I saw since I was a child. The answer was usually a "no," but it was never followed up with an actual solution. They didn't have the solution because they never looked deep enough into all the information my body and mind provided them.
What we call "normal" is simply an agreement of beliefs based on a majority. And the majority of medical professionals I've seen in my life all believed in a similar "normal." Unfortunately, it just wasn't my normal.
So, the next time we find ourselves craving to be one with the norm, remember that normalcy is relative to our own experience. You, me, and everyone we know is reacting perfectly to their subjective world.
5. I'm suffering.
Reframe: I'm healing. Healing isn't all sunshine, puppy dogs and rainbows. Healing is work that involves stretching way out of our comfort zones into the unknown, in order to cultivate new fertile ground in which to thrive.
If we live with chronic illness or pain, the last thing we want to experience is more discomfort. But once we learn how to guide ourselves using our feelings, especially the painful ones, we no longer fear them the same way. They become the light that leads us back to ourselves.
If we truly want to heal ourselves, it means getting behind the wheel and steering through the fear of uncertainty. In my world, it's the uncertainty that each day can bring which causes the most suffering when living through chronic illness. Once we drop our resistance to the unknown, we see that everything in life is beautifully uncertain, which means anything is possible, even during the seemingly impossible.