I want you to know one thing:
Your body loves you.
Deeply and unconditionally.
In every moment of every day.
Even when it doesn’t seem so and especially then when it doesn’t seem so.
Even when you are stuggling and enduring those awful pains that cut through your head and above your eyes and nothing seems to help to alleviate them; even when you are losing your breath in the midst of a panic attack and your heart is racing like crazy and cold sweat is dripping down your back while you’re simply standing in the line at the grocery store and there’s no obvious danger in sight; even when you get overwhelmed with sadness and tears fill up your lungs and brain and spill out of your eyes while you are trying your hardest to hold them in and not let anyone see those deep oceans of pain that you’ve been swimming through; even when you are tired for days and weeks on end, lacking motivation and energy to do the simplest things; even when you get sick out of nowhere, just a day before that important event or trip that you’ve been looking forward for months, even when… (fill in the blank)
Your body loves you and tries to protect you.
The problem lies in our expectation that what it should protect us from is some kind of external “danger” or sickness, but the truth is that most of the times what it protects us from is, actually - ourselves.
To fully grasp upon this idea, we have to see the body not merely as a mirror of what’s been going on at the physical level, but as a physical manifestation of what has been happening on all layers of our body: mental, emotional and spiritual. It is when we don’t deal with the issues while they are still floating in those more subtle bodies, that they dense up and invade our physical bodies in order to call our attention. Not out of cruelty or some “evil fate”, but as a simple and direct form of self-preservation, as a survival instinct that we were gifted with upon the arrival on this Planet.
I know that in theory it may sound completely logical (or absolutely absurd and senseless if you’ve never come across metaphysical explanations of medical conditions before), but it is through integration of this knowledge in our own lives that we can truly reap benefits of it - if we are ready to look beneath our “misfortunes” and get honest about how they served us, how they protected us and from what and, eventually, reach the state of gratitude for those states, events and conditions, finally understanding that it was all along just our body loving us, saving us and protecting us.
It was not until recently that it became clear to me, as I was trying to explain to myself why I was getting fever and colds so often lately (it is the only way to stop me from running around like maniac, pushing myself way over my limits and overtraining for the sake of “mental health”, khm, khm), that I realized how those depression and anxiety I was “fighting” for so long (and that still sneak up and invade my system every now and then) were, actually, serving me. They were gifts I was trying to get rid of in every and each way possible before even unwrapping them and seeing what they’ve been holding inside. There is no condition, circumstance, relationship or behaviour that will continue being an active part of our reality (no matter how much we want the opposite to happen and are working towards it) if we are not getting so-called “secondary gains” from it.
Here is where things become tricky as we have to get painfully honest with ourselves.
How does depression and constant lack of energy serve you? What do they protect you from? Which of your needs are now getting met while without those conditions they weren’t?;
How does that abusive relationship that makes you suffer and cry all night through actually benefit you? Which of your needs are getting met in that painful and unloving situation?;
How does having social anxiety serve you when on conscious level you want to attract beautiful, deep friendships and you cannot even get through 5 minutes of introductory chat without getting into the freeze-state?
I could continue on and on with various situations and conditions, but you got the point. Ask yourself those questions, get the piece of paper and see what comes up - don’t filter anything, no one will see it, but do it for yourself - please, do it. The first time you start maybe just the superficial reasons will come up and few days later a new insight may emerge and let it be so… there’s no need to force anything or judge the answers that appear, simply observe with loving compassion and understanding towards yourself. Get curious about those answers as they very probably hold the key to liberation from the condition you’ve been battling with, but also a wonderful well of knowledge about yourself. Feel the gratitude for the infinite intelligence of your body that is trying to protect you at every step of your path.
You may wonder what came up for me during this process?
I realized that my depression gave me the permisson to put the smiley, energetic mask down and take a rest when I need it, not only “when I deserve it”; it gave me permission to feel down, sad and angry and embrace those emotions without feeling ungrateful or spoiled because “I have it all, so many people are jealous of my life circumstances, I should therefore be in constant state of bliss and enthusiasm”. I was officially “clinically depressed”, so I could blame the chemical imbalance in my brain for simply feeling what I was feeling and finally not having to mask it and hide it - neither from myself nor from others.
I remember like it was yesterday - that afternoon some five years ago - when I went to a therapist and she wrote down on paper: “depression and anxiety - pharmacotherapy needed” and the amount of relief I felt in that moment. It was like I was holding my breath for years and finally someone gave me a written permission to breathe out, to open the floodgates and let the tears roll out - there it was, black on white, the confirmation that something was “wrong” with me; there it was, black on white, the permission to be sad, to be dark, to cry, to suffer, to be imperfect, to be and feel… just what it is. It gave me permission to acknowledge my needs, honour them and express them (even though I am still working on this ‘till the present day); it gave me permission to show my vulnerability and to stop trying to trick the world and myself into believing I was some kind of superhuman that can endure all and everything; it gave me permission to put myself first, to tune inward, to stop obsessively people-pleasing and living my life to impress or meet others’ expectations; it brought me attention and warmth from my parents that I was craving for so badly since I was a little girl, yet didn’t know how to ask for. The list goes on, but I don’t feel comfortable sharing here those more intimate aspects that surfaced.
Now, as you slowly, gently and lovingly started asking yourself questions about which secondary gains are you reaping from your at first glance detrimental situations, I want you to let pass a few days or even a week (wait until everything settles down and you feel ready) and do the following thing: write a “thank you letter” to your anxiety, diabetes, depression, anorexia, broken arm, shortsightedness, excess weight or whichever way your gift came wrapped up as - whether you are still struggling with it or whether it’s a part of your past. Acknowledge how and in which way it helps/helped you and protects/protected you and express your gratitude for it. Once finished, read the letter out loud and, if called to do so - burn it, or otherwise save it and when the occasion arrives and you need a reminder of the infinite love that your body has for you - reread it.
For the end, I believe we should also consider changing the vocabulary we use when it comes to these kind of challenges. How about instead of “battling with” depression/eating disorder/chronic pain/etc, we embrace it, we open to it, listen to it, learn from it and when the time comes - lovingly let it go as it no longer holds lessons for us and it served the purpose it was meant to serve?
I love you. Be kind to yourself.