Following on from Part 1 of “learning to live your best life with chronic illness”, the second piece that I want to chat to you about in terms of your health goals and supporting yourself is, what are the beliefs that you have around the condition that you’ve been told that you have? How much do you allow those beliefs to limit you? So for example, you might hear that the limitations of your condition say that you are going to have low energy and you are going to sleep poorly. You are told so many things that are “going to happen” that it makes us afraid. And as I mentioned in part one, when we are afraid, we can’t see. So, do we believe all of these things, and does it limit us in terms of our capacity to live with our condition and to manage our condition?
You can watch the video here about living with Chronic Illness or read on below:
Learning to trust my gut
Trusting my gut has led me to understand that, actually, I don’t always and shouldn’t always listen to or believe everything that I hear my brain say. So part of your journey is to begin to become a little collector of evidence. It’s like, you need to take a step back and watch yourself. I talk about curiosity and observing. You’re watching yourself and seeing how your body is responding to what you are doing and you’re also watching those beliefs.
I’m going to give you a perfect example, I had been told that because I have hypothyroidism that I shouldn’t go swimming in the sea because it will be really negative for me. I’ve been told that I should give up gluten because it’s going to make my life better.
You know, we’re always searching for answers when we are living with chronic illness when anyone tells you something different, you’ll cling to it and think, “that’ it, that’s the reason. And if I give that up then everything’s going to be okay”. The harder thing would be to tell you that, actually, you know what, I don’t have the answer I don’t exactly know what your root cause is, but I can help figure out through listening, learning and helping you to unlearn some of the habits that you have attached to because somebody, somewhere along the line, told you and you have chosen to believe it to be true.
Truth versus belief?
So, a little exercise I like to use is fear versus truth or belief versus the truth. Ask yourself, what is the belief that you’re telling yourself? Is it that this is how it’s going to be forever? When I had the red patches everywhere I did tell myself that this is how I was going to be forever. But by getting support along the way, I began to question that belief. And, the curiosity in me looked at all these other people out there who were reporting claims of being cured and so I started simply by adopting new practices and just testing them out. Just dancing with them, as I say to my clients. We’re just dancing here and we’re getting a little rhythm. We’re getting little flow easing into movement and pulling back out if it feels uncomfortable. Then easing into another one, maybe thinking “oh, it’s nice here. I’m going to stay a while”, before pulling back again. So we’re dancing and we’re finding our truths.
What I was learning were my truths was that I was feeling different as I did these things. I suddenly some days started thinking “hey, this might work” I was feeling a little bit of fire in me like yes, I got this. I started listening and trusting myself more. Like the time I was told to eat all the chickpeas and fibre in the world. Now that didn’t work out too well. If you have a dicky gut, you know what I heap of fibre onto a dicky gut is going to do for you – not so pleasant. So, I started listening to myself and making my choices based on what I knew about myself. My brain got calmer and when my brain got calmer then a world of choice opened up to me. I stopped being afraid that I had to get it right. I stopped being afraid that I needed this body to go back to what it was because I started to learn how to be grateful for what I have now, and to recognize the things in my body, as it was, that were working better. And slowly but surely, the symptoms managed to quieten down.
So there we go, that’s my other tip, unlearning. What are some of the beliefs we may need to unlearn? Beliefs that we are holding about ourselves. In the face of what we often feel like we cannot control, how can we support ourselves by achieving some sense of calm. And really digging deep into those fears and beliefs we are holding and seeing is that really true?
If you would like support on your journey, feel free to message me or join my free Facebook group here.