This is the second post in a series on healing from autoimmune disease. To read the first post, visit here.
The Gut/ Emotion Connection
When you look at the gut as more than just the organs that process food, you can understand why so many autoimmune issues impact digestion.
So many of our emotions are felt in the gut. The gut also processes your inner dialog and the way you talk to yourself and about yourself to others. Think about situations that feel hard to swallow in your life. Maybe it’s practicing a career you dislike, but feels safe, are criticized or bullied, are holding onto a relationship that doesn’t make you feel good or are living with an unpredictable, volatile parent or spouse.
Your gut digests emotions just as it digests food. Whenever you do something that betrays who you truly are at the soul level, it’s difficult for your body to digest. It’s like trying to place the opposite ends of a magnet together. When you resist the natural flow of life or adopt the hypercritical voice of a parent, boss or teacher as your own, this also takes a toll on the gut.
Addressing past traumas and releasing their energy and then uncovering and shifting the beliefs and mindset that are hurtful rather than healing is ultimately what heals the gut. Diet and supplements can be very supportive for physical healing, as long as you’re also addressing what’s going on at the emotional and energetic level.
For example, when a client with a thyroid condition, who was working on healing her perfectionism, was passed over for a promotion, her symptoms flared up until she was able to remember that her self worth wasn’t tied to her occupation. Once she was able to love and accept herself, even without the promotion, her body was able to return to feeling safe and cared for.
A big piece of healing from autoimmune is being able and willing to shift the way you see yourself. You may have always been labeled as the helpful one, the peacemaker, the over achiever or the one who steps up in any crisis. We wear these hats, often given to us by other people. They make us feel important. Like we have a special job and when we accomplish it, we’re rewarded with love, feeling worthy and safe.
The problem with these hats is that what feels like our superpower, can ultimately be our downfall. We must learn to feel worthy of receiving love for who we are, not what we do for others. Healing is about learning to put your own needs first without feeling like this is selfish, which is something so many of us are taught as children.
Healing the Victim Mentality
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in my work with autoimmune clients is healing the victim mentality. We all have a tendency toward self saboteurs. These are the thoughts, beliefs and actions that try to keep you stuck in the past and from doing the often uncomfortable things that help you grow and move forward. A self saboteur is that little voice that says “You’ll never do this” or “who do you think you are?” or “you’re in pain because you’re weak and getting older.”
For autoimmune clients, I’ve found that playing the victim often serves an important role. It provides people who are often overworked or over giving with a much needed break. Being sick might be the only way you can subconsciously take a break or receive care from someone else. This is especially true if, as a child, you learned that being sick meant receiving extra attention, special privileges or feeling loved and cared for. As adults, we subconsciously play out the same situations in order to receive the intended result.
When we work together, we explore the benefits of staying sick. Yes, the benefits. For many autoimmune clients, this is a major sticking point.
For people who are afraid to put their own needs first, being well means having to set boundaries around their time and energy, which often results in pushback or criticism from loved ones who benefited from a lack of boundaries.
Being well means no longer falling back on an illness to avoid work, dating, travel, confronting difficult people and situations and other showing up for commitments. It leaves no choice but to find your voice and advocate for yourself. It also means shifting your identity so you learn to accept yourself and feel deeply loved and whole for who you are, not based on accomplishments or praise from others. You come to understand that happiness is an inside job. Love isn’t a result of what you do for others. You are born worthy of love and when you hold this truth inside of you, nothing or no one can change it.
Being well means learning to work with your body, to listen to your body and to trust and fully accept yourself for where you’re at in this present moment. It’s shedding the weight of your past, making decisions aligned with who you desire to become and living as your true, authentic self.
This is the lens through which I help people heal from autoimmune conditions. It’s a journey, not a quick fix. But for those who are ready to begin slowly stripping back the layers and feeling lighter and shifting each step of the way, I promise it’s worth it.
If you’re interested in diving deeper into your autoimmune symptoms and learning how to identify how your past is affecting your present health, join me inside the 4-week group program Thrive! Uncovering the Root of Autoimmunity. For more information on how we can work together, visit here.