“Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system.” ― don Miguel Ruiz
Most countries have a disease care system rather than a health care system. Our focus is not on keeping people healthy and well, rather the main effort is on disease and symptom management. Most of us engage in the system when we start to see a decline in our health. This model leaves us feeling that deteriorating health and illness are a natural progression of life. This is something we accept and agree to, but what if we were to agree to something different? What if we could shift our focus from illness to wellness? After all, it is our day-to-day actions that have the biggest impact on the management of our health and even our illness. By developing a wellness identity not only do we acknowledge the mind’s role in our health, but we take big strides toward a better quality of life.
Developing the Wellness Identity
Identity is an important concept when it comes to our healing. We have to remember what makes us healthy and well, even if we are not in optimal health. This requires us to remember what it is that nourishes us, makes us joyful and brings out the best of who we are. Our wellness identity is connecting with the essence of ourselves and giving it the opportunity for expression. All too often we mistake our identity as our job, role or circumstance. This creates a discontinuity in our lives when illness impacts the status quo. We may not be able to perform the same tasks, have the same job and may even have permanent changes to the body. The wellness identity asks us to look beyond this and know that we are more than just our body or role. We are mind, body and spirit beings. Our wholeness, and, therefore, our healing, does not require our perfection. We need nothing external to make us worthy only our knowing and acceptance of who we are, right now, in the moment.
For example, you are not a lawyer; you are a spiritual being experiencing yourself through the role of the lawyer. This being still exists even when your job changes, your body is altered or your circumstances differ. It is what is at your essence that makes you a great lawyer. When we misidentify with the roles we play in life, we don't see our true value. Our value cannot be determined from a point outside ourselves, but rather from within. Understanding our strengths and virtues at our core is our beacon of light in the dark times.
The Patient/Doctor Relationship
One of the biggest factors that alter our wellness identity is our relationship with our health care providers. It is important to be cognizant of the impact that they can have on our ability to heal and our capacity for hope, based on the way they frame the situation. Many people are told they just have to live with their pain and illness. What are we agreeing to when we choose to just live with our illness? There are always options. Even the word chronic illness is making a long-standing commitment to being ill. The mind/body relationship is powerful in shaping and changing our physiology. The way we perceive things based on our own experiences and on the way others present things to us can make a huge difference in our own health outcomes.
So keep in mind, because we have a disease care model, we mostly see our doctors only when we are sick (with a few exceptions). This frames what they think is possible and often those limitations are then passed on to you. Do not allow others to limit your potential. Nobody knows your story as well as you. Your strengths, your support, how much you love and laugh, and the way you move and eat. These all matter when it comes to health outcomes. So never underestimate your own inner strength. It is good to cultivate hope, love and compassion for oneself. So listen to your trusted health advisors, but never lose sight of your potential.
Where’s Your Focus?
We tend to focus on our limitations versus our strengths. Especially in dealing with a serious illness. But our resilience, or ability to bounce back from challenges, requires us to look at things with a strengths perspective. What do you have going for you? Just as a child who excels in math, but not in social studies, we spend our time and energy focusing on her achieving better grades in social studies. Instead of playing on her strengths we focus on the weakness. In health or in education, this leads to a negative and hopeless outlook. There are always aspects of your life where there is opportunity for optimism. Maybe your physical self has changed, but you have incredible social support, so put your focus on the positives in your life. Living from a more grateful and positive place helps you build self-esteem. An important part of the wellness identity is to see the strengths versus the deficits in your life and health.
While labels are an important part of ensuring the proper standard of care, they are not something you have to own. We know the power of expectation and the impact it can have both positively and negatively on our wellness. So be careful about what you own and agree to. In meditative practice, we talk about the difference between “I am angry” and “this is the experience of anger”. On one hand, you internalize and identify with the anger; in the latter you acknowledge the experience. Can you acknowledge the experience of the symptoms without owning the illness?
It is profound what can be accomplished once we shift our perceptions of what is possible. What are your strengths and virtues after you strip away the roles, emotions and circumstances? It is from this place that health and wellness thrive and healing can occur. This remembering of wellness is filled with opportunities for gratitude and a chance, as the Toltec’s would put it, to be impeccable. A state of being that is free from self-judgment; transcends fear and includes a daily quest for inner peace. The wellness identity is the conscious choice to experience your wholeness and embrace yourself just as you are.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please contact your health care provider before making any changes to your health care program.
About the Author
Angela Levesque is a writer, intuitive and host of Entanglement Radio on iOM.fm. She works with clients doing intuitive readings and lifestyle coaching, awareness development and mind/body weight loss. Angela also teaches several classes on self-care and is the author of Healing Environment: The Conscious Creation of Health. Visit www.hestiahealth.com for more information. Find her on https://twitter.com/HestiaHealth and http://www.facebook.com/hestiahealth.
Forwarded this on to the publishers, with thanks, Angela! Enjoy your weekend ~ Blessings!