Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Treating Yourself With Love When You're Sick

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When your beloved car goes into the shop, you probably don't blame it for being a defective piece of machinery. You figure even good cars break down after a while--it's inevitable--and so you do the necessary repairs and still love the vehicle. Likewise, when your friend's car breaks down, you feel sympathy for her, but you don't immediately blame her for automobile negligence.

And yet, when that same friend gets sick, some of us immediately get to thinking about what she did wrong to invite the illness. Did she have a "negative attitude"that allowed disease to attack? Did she eat with abandon? Did she forget to do cleanses, or to take immune boosters, or to do tai chi?

When you think this way, your message to your friend becomes one of blame. Your intention might be good--to help your friend figure out the underlying causes so she can figure out an action plan to get well, but the message is more like, "You did something wrong (you poor thing), therefore you're sick." No matter your intent, the impact is not one of healing.
Even worse, we tend to run ourselves through the same type of interrogation, looking for the ways in which we slipped that led to our illness. It's bad enough that we're sick, but then on top of that, we beat on ourselves for being vulnerable. We feel a kind of shame in being ill, as if the illness itself indicates that we've done something wrong. And because we feel that shame, we try to hurry up and get well, pushing the pace beyond our body's natural healing rhythm.

Here's an alternative message to give to yourself when ill: "All bodies break down. All bodies need rest. This body needs rest right now. This is a wonderful body. I love this body and will take care of it, give it rest right now, and never blame it for needing maintenance. Instead, I will love and love it and thank it for telling me when it needs rest and care."

Now, the next time a friend gets sick, try giving this same message to your friend, and really try to see your friend's body as a wonderful machine, instead of a repository for wrong thinking and wrong eating. I suspect you'll help your friend to heal a lot faster.

Best Wishes, Hiyaguha, The Life Change Coach

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