Giving Thanks (and Talking Nice) Despite Autoimmunity

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Giving Thanks (and Talking Nice) Despite Autoimmunity

Are you upset and angry with yourself that you can’t seem to lose weight despite your best efforts? Do you blame yourself for the miscarriages you’ve had? Are you frustrated and self-conscious of your thinning hair or digestive issues? Do you worry your fatigue will make you appear lazy or unmotivated? Are you annoyed or put out by joint pain? Do you look in the mirror and berate yourself for not being or looking a certain way?

According to Dictionary.com, the definition of an autoimmune disease is as follows:

noun, Pathology.

1. a disease resulting from a disordered immune reaction in which antibodies are produced against one’s own tissues.

This means that your own immune system, which is meant to identify and destroy foreign pathogens, has become confused and is now attacking your own body’s tissue—destroying it in the process. In the case of Hashimoto’s your immune system’s target is your thyroid. In rheumatoid arthritis, it is your joints. In celiac disease, it is your intestinal lining.

To put it even more plainly: YOU are attacking YOURSELF.

Through out the ups and downs of autoimmunity, I am willing to bet there has been some self-loathing and degradation on your part for not making the progress you think you should have or for even having an autoimmune disease in the first place.

Why me?!

To a degree, I get it. Autoimmune diseases are not largely understood by our friends and family (or even doctors!) and since we do not always appear outwardly sick, autoimmunity can be a lonely journey filled with complex emotions and symptoms that no one seems to take seriously.

All the negative self-talk that comes out of your frustrations with autoimmunity and its symptoms is rather reminiscent of the very definition of autoimmunity itself, isn’t it? Every time you attack your body with negative and degrading self-talk you are behaving just like your autoimmune disease. Ironic, huh?

Leading behavioral researchers have found that up to 77% of everything you think and say to yourself is negative and counterproductive. This undoubtedly has consequences.

Take Dr. Masaru Emoto’s water crystal experiment as an example. Dr. Emoto studied the effects of different words on crystalline structures of water. Water exposed to the positive phrase “love and gratitude” produced beautiful snowflake-like crystalline structures, whereas the phrase “you fool” created jagged, asymmetrical structures. This is nothing to sneeze at when you consider that over 60% of your body is made of water.

Every time you look in the mirror and berate yourself for those 20 pounds you can’t seem to lose you send a negative vibration to your body. While anger has a place in the grieving process, constantly attacking yourself verbally and emotionally isn’t serving you in any shape or form—the sooner you get this, the better.

You and your body must get on the same team if any healing is to be done—especially if you have already done a lot of the grunt work in regard to diet and lifestyle and are not seeing the changes you think you should be.

It is imperative that you halt all the negative speak, negative thoughts and negative emotions about your body and health and instead develop a deep appreciation for your body—no matter what it looks like or feels like. Easier said than done sometimes, trust me, I know.

Here is how you can begin to make the shift—

Practice non-judgmental awareness around the things you say to yourself. Simply notice the things you say or think about yourself without judging. Attempt to be a passive witness. Being aware of the problem is the first step in resolving it.

Cultivate compassion and gratitude for your body. Believe it or not, your body works really hard for you as it attempts to keep your heart beating, your lungs breathing, your blood circulating, your hormones and neurotransmitters balanced among all the other crucial processes that keep you alive even under the worst of circumstances (illness, poor diet, environmental toxins etc). So, give your poor body a break—it is doing the best it can and it deserves some appreciation for all it does for you. After all, this is the vessel that allows you to travel, make love, play with your children, read books, laugh with friends, and enjoy life’s many sweet moments.

Before you accuse1

Tend to your body and health as though it was a defenseless child in need of your love and care. Before you accuse your body of essentially letting you down in some way or another, consider instead what you are feeding it, how much rest and sleep you are giving it and what you are saying to it. You are the adult here—act like it.

Accept what is. There is more pain in resisting reality than there is in accepting it. Every time you degrade yourself for not being able to lose weight, for example, you are resisting the reality of your current circumstances. Accepting your joint pain, your weight gain, your depression or anxiety—whatever debilitating symptom haunts you most—creates space for more productive work to take place. Que Sera, Sera—now focus on taking positive steps to regain your health.

Autoimmunity is challenging and taxing on the body as it is. Developing compassion, gratitude, love and acceptance for the deserving and beautiful being that you are is part of breaking free of the viscous cycle of self-attack.

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