A few days ago, I shared with you my Getting Better Guide (if you didn't get this free resource yet, hop on over here and get your download!). In it, I outline my go-to practices for when things aren't going quite right and I want to really bring some focus to getting better.
Because it is central to what's in my guide, I want to riff today on the culture you've probably been raised in, because accepting the messages our culture gives around health and wellness may be your biggest obstacle to actually getting better.
In short, I want to say this: you've been had. I've been had. We've all been had.
Sometimes I find it hard to admit that, to accept it, to allow that no matter how hard I've worked, no matter how counter-cultural my parents may have been, no matter how much research I've done, I'm still buying into messages that don't serve me.
Messages that tell me:
- My appearance trumps everything, including whether or not my body functions well
- I shouldn't need help
- My body is something to punish and reward
- If there is no pain, there will be no gain
- Health is about being fit, not about being functional
- I should stuff my anger, sadness, grief
- I can control everything
- I can take care of myself in 15 minutes per day
- There's a pill for that
- I don't need to change anything about my lifestyle/psychological state/environment and I can still have true health
- There's nothing to be done
You can probably see how some of these messages are contradictory, evasive or simplistic. I hope you can see that all of them are problematic in some way or another.
When it comes to getting well and staying well, one of the biggest tasks before you is to be willing to change your mind. To question what you believe, what you've been told to believe and to explore other ways of being.
I realize I'm writing this like it's something you can just will: "Now, I'll be open-minded." (If you can will yourself into belief, let me know. I spent much of my life trying to do that and couldn't make much progress!) I find that change comes gradually, often, and seemingly out of nowhere at other times. You are trudging along with one paradigm and without realizing it, you've been opening yourself up to another and then suddenly! (or so it seems) you are in a new place with a new way of seeing and being.
This keeps happening to me. My body keeps inviting me into new places, new ways of being. It has proven itself to be a most trustworthy guide. I can sometimes sense in my body when a belief about what I need to be healthy is no longer serving me. Sometimes it shows up as pain, sometimes as parts not working well. Always, it is inviting movement, gently calling me toward flow. And whenever I am willing to step into that flow, I find a new place of ease, a new place of possibility, a new place of wellness.
I have just one suggestion to you today on that front, if you want to cultivate this environment in yourself: be curious.
When you decide you can't/shouldn't/won't, stay with yourself and be curious about that. What is the cost? Who told you that? How is this way of being serving you? How does it FEEL in your body? Is there even a tiny possibility that another truth is available to you?
Truthfully, I'm not always the most open-minded person. I like to get entrenched in my beliefs and regurgitate them to myself, just like the rest of us. ;) Choosing to be curious, even though I'm not consistent, creates just enough of a foothold to allow new ideas and ways of being to float on in.
And often enough, enables me to tell the broader culture to just go ahead and stuff it!
Here's to YOU being open to new ideas about health and wellness!