(Updated on 2nd March 2020. This is the first of a three-part series of posts on self-care)
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When was the last time you felt that your health was completely in your hands?
That you had the power to decide the outcome of your health goals?
Do you often feel powerless in front of medical authorities when you meet them for your health issues?
This is not confined only to doctor visits though.
This can happen to any of us anywhere and with anyone that we chose to give away our power to. We often knowingly or unknowingly give away our power over our own lives to others or the circumstances in our lives. One of the areas of our lives that we see this a lot is with regards to our health issues.
For too long now we have been taught to believe that we are not the ones who understand our body best. We have also been led to believe that it is only the experts who can help us when it comes to dealing with our health issues. Please be clear that I am certainly not disputing the fact that we need medical professionals to guide and help us when we are sick. At the same time, it is also not true that others always know more than us when it comes to our own health and when it comes to creating health rather than treating a disease.
As a result, instead of going deep inside of ourselves, trusting our instincts and listening to what our body is trying to tell us, we usually ignore or otherwise medicate our way out of our symptoms. Medication, of course, has its right of place and is absolutely life saving when used properly and for the right reasons. However, when medicine is used as a substitute for self care and leading a well balanced life, it can end up creating a lot of problems in the long run.
When we hear the word Power we usually think of it as something lying outside of us.
A powerful car.
A powerful businessman or leader.
A powerful speech.
A powerful motorbike.
A powerful doctor that everyone listens to.
The power that we are born with. The wisdom that guides us to do what is needed to take care of ourselves. The intuition that we have learned to ignore along with the messages our body keeps giving us every single day to let us know if something is working or not working.
Creating health is NOT the same as treating disease and that is where the problem lies. Since we have completely outsourced our healthcare, we have in a way, outsourced the responsibility that we have towards ourselves to do what is required to stay healthy. With this, we have also given away our power.
Do you find that you often say to yourself something on the lines of...
I had 1 hour in a day to myself, then I would be able to take out the time to exercise/walk
I could find someone who finally understands me and loves me, everything would be fine
I could lose these last 5 kilos of weight, then I would be really happy
My children were grown up and gone to college, then I would be able to take out the time to take care of myself
Unknowingly, we often end up feeling disempowered and disenchanted with our life because we are not really aware of the quality of our thoughts. If our thoughts are always jumbled and cluttered, that's the direction our life will take. And since we have about 60,000 thoughts in a day, it truly matters what we "think". If you believe a thought, it will seem true to you whether it is a reality or not. In this manner, our thoughts infact dictate the actions that we take, the habits that we inculcate and ultimately the direction that our lives take.
As you can see, if we are not careful, we can spend most of our lives coming up with all the seemingly right excuses justifying what we can not do. On the contrary, if we can choose thoughts and words that focus on what we CAN and want to do, right here and right now, we can actually end up in a completely different place.
You see, no matter what your limitations truly are, your experiences are actually a reflection of your inner thoughts. You alone have the power to CHOOSE your thoughts and this power resides right here, at this moment. Not in the past, nor in the future.
As Lao Tsu had said..
Watch your thoughts; for they become words. Watch your words; for they become actions. Watch your actions; for they become habits. Watch your habits; for they become character. Watch your character for it will become your destiny
"Selfcare is how you take your power back"
It all starts with you taking out the time to connect with yourself, so that you may learn to become aware of the quality of your inner thoughts. Do your thoughts reflect that values that you hold deeply?
This kind of awareness forms the basis of any kind of self care practice. This is something I learned the hard way for myself some years ago.
My daughter's severe health crisis several years ago led me to a point in my life where I had to take a stand and make a choice. A conscious choice to start taking better care of myself so that I could be a better mother and caregiver for my daughter. My own self care practice gave me the strength and the energy to look for a solution for my daughter's health issues and help her heal. If I had not taken care of myself first, I would have certainly not been able to continue to focus on helping my daughter through those difficult and uncertain times and find a solution to her health problems.
However, before we can begin moving towards taking better care of ourselves, we may first need to recognise the ways in which we have been giving away our personal power.
We need to STOP
Blaming others for our health condition and take responsibility for the choices that we have made
Giving so much to others that we start feeling empty and resentful inside
Holding onto anger and grudges against others who may intentionally or unintentionally have hurt us
Letting other people's behaviour dictate our emotions and how we feel about ourselves and others
INSTEAD...we need to
Take the time to sit down with ourselves and learn to truly listen to what we need at this moment
Take responsibility for our own life, feelings and actions
Face our fears and learn to accept the dark and unwanted parts of ourselves as gracefully as we do our strengths; once we are able to do so, they lose their power over us
Nourish our mind and body with positive thoughts and energy by eating the right foods and taking out time to take care of our emotional and physical needs on a daily basis
Most of all, we can learn to reclaim our power and move towards our health and other life goals...