What we say matters! Both our internal and external dialog changes our thinking, feelings and actions. Do you remember that saying we all sing-songed as children, “that sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Ya, right! I promise you, I remembered and internalized ugly words as much as if not more than physical hurts from other people. I would guess you did too. I think people are much more free with wounding words than they are with fists because they believe it doesn’t hurt as much or they don’t realize the power of their words or perhaps because they think they are being constructive or helpful or it’s their responsibility to deliver those words to us. So many well meaning people can hurt us immeasurably this way, including ourselves. It’s like the difference between telling a child they are a “bad child” versus “that was a bad or wrong thing to do because it hurt this person.” One implies a mistake, the other implies that the child has something inherently wrong with them.
I’d like to apply this concept to symptoms and illness. When you use words that make the symptom or illness “yours” you are owning it, keeping it, holding on to it and in some ways perpetuating it. It becomes part of your identity and your story, something inherently wrong with you. I have a client who was ill 15 years ago. She had debilitating symptoms and she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and a couple more autoimmune issues for good measure. Well, to this day, 15 years later- even though she is symptom free she runs her life like she is ill. She will say things like, “I don’t have people over because of my fibromyalgia.”’ Me and others have called her on this and commented that she’s been symptom free for some time. To which she flutters her hands and says. “Well anyway,” and changes the subject. She is determined to live her life like she is still sick. She can’t let go of the identity of something being wrong with her, holding her back from joyously embracing life. We’ve all done this to some degree with terms like- my allergies, my back pain, my illness, my chronic fatigue just won’t clear up, my headaches are back, etc, etc. Our words have power and when we use those words we are accepting that condition as part of us! For example, “I’m fat!” has a whole different connotation to your brain, emotions and actions than “I am experiencing weight gain.” One implies empowerment over a changeable, fluid situation and the other implies there is something inherently wrong with you! Also, people who believe they are “fat” or “sick” act differently than those who believe they are experiencing a symptom of weight gain or illness. People who are experiencing some allergy symptoms are going to approach things differently than someone who says “My spring allergies are back.” The latter states, they are here, they will always be here, they are part of me forever and ever.
As a life coach I say- Let your illness go! STOP owning it! Change your words, change your actions, take back your power and your health. There are multiple steps and parts to healing and one that you can initiate today is CHANGE. YOUR. WORDS. Try it- “ I am experiencing……” It is temporary and I give my body permission to release it. I don’t need this condition any more to learn from. I’m changing my actions to fit a new paradigm where --- doesn’t belong. I am healthy, I am fit, I am happy, I AM in charge!" Then, take decisive, intentional, massive action and use that momentum towards your healing.
Happy Renewal! Happy Spring! Happy YOU!