Who is responsible for your Healing? Is it you or your practitioner?
I recently pondered this after completing a personal development course. We looked at our ego and belief systems and how they affect our behaviours and how we tend to stay in the same dysfunctional patterns. I believe that this also applies to our health.
If we are unwell, we may seek advice or a diagnosis from a doctor. In turn, they may give us some medication to help us get better or refer us for further tests. He/she may then follow up with us, to check on how we are progressing. The doctor has done his/her part in your healing and you can do yours by taking the advice given.
But does it go further than this? I believe it does. Doctors take an oath to treat those who are ill. They are responsible for those who seek their care. However the buck doesn’t stop there. You are responsible too, if not to a higher degree.
Healing is never straightforward. It involves the physical body, but it also involves the emotional, and the latter, often to a higher degree. In Reflexology I address the health issues that present, but also look at the emotional factors. How is that person feeling today? How are they feeling about their illness? Are they looking after themselves and how are they treating themselves? What language are they using? There are many layers involved in our healing.
How we react to our illness may also affect its’ outcome. If we remain anxious and stressed we remain in a constant ‘fight or flight’ mode. Our cortisone and adrenaline levels are always elevated and our immune system is suppressed. The incidence of heart disease is increased and chronic stress has also been linked to cancer.
If we remain in a ‘victim mode’ we are feeding into this negativity. I totally understand this, as it’s never easy if you have a chronic health condition. It is draining and exhausting and if it’s life threatening, it can be terrifying. But if we remain a victim, we stay powerless.
It’s important to look at how we are reacting and become aware of our behaviours. This doesn’t mean that we criticise ourselves, but instead look at our actions proactively. So many of our behavioural patterns are learned in childhood. If we are always yelled at as children, we take on certain behaviours to stay and feel safe. We may not express our feelings or our needs. If there are high expectations made of us, we feel that as adults we need to be perfect.
Dr Gabor Mate says that when we don’t express our own needs and feelings effectively, our physiology is also affected. Chronic emotional stress affects our immune system. When our needs aren’t met in childhood, we play out our behaviours as adults. We compensate for the things we missed out on, or the behaviours that affected our upbringing. We forget to look after ourselves and end up meeting everyone else’s needs first. He says, “When we have been prevented from learning how to say no, our bodies may end up saying it for us.”
So what can we do to change this?
Put yourself first! This may sound rather obvious, but to a habitual people pleaser like myself, it took many health issues for this to sink in. Whatever your diagnosis, choose yourself and choose healing. Take responsibility for yourself. Express how you feel, even if it’s just to family and ask for help if needed. Become aware of your reactions. We tend to repeat our behaviours, no matter the circumstances. We all have our own dysfunctional patterns.
Then take measures to reduce stress in your life. Yes illness is scary and yes, it is exhausting. But you can choose to stay it’s victim or you can choose to take back the power. Do more fun things for yourself, laugh(a lot) to boost those feel good hormones, which reduce the inflammatory response and move your body, even if all you feel up to is a walk around your garden.
Eat healthily, meditate, sing, dance, swim, spend time in nature, or do whatever reduces your stress levels. Find someone to talk to about how you really feel and look at the behaviours that no longer serve you. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. It isn’t easy as this opens us up to fear, criticism or self-judgement, but it’s an important part of our healing.
Practise reframing your words. If they are always negative, this will reflect on how you are feeling. Biologist Bruce Lipton showed that changing how we look at things changes the chemistry in our body.
Healing is a multi-faceted thing. It’s important to remember that our body is always working to support us. Who then, is responsible for your Healing? I believe we need to collaborate with health professionals when needed, but ultimately the responsibility lies within ourselves.
References: “When the Body says No – The cost of Hidden Stress” by Dr Gabor Mate, “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton, PhD. Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash
Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.