It may seem nonsensical to think that something as ‘soft’ as loving yourself is actually vital to self-healing rheumatoid arthritis when the (medical) world is principally focused on ‘hard’ medical research and medicine to help rid the world of rheumatoid arthritis. Yet this ‘soft’ approach of self-love has been shown to be the missing element for most in our personal and evolutionary healing process.
The medical approach is totally understandable. There are symptoms and the insight is to come up with ways to diminish or remove these symptoms.
I’m not against medication and am not saying to throw medication overboard. It has its usefulness and purpose. I for one am grateful for pain management medication.
But it has clearly been shown that for many this ´hard´ medical approach isn’t the whole solution when it comes to effectively healing rheumatoid arthritis.
Especially if we want to truly understand how a dis-ease like RA comes into people’s existence. Likewise, if we no longer want to be dependent on medication for the rest of our lives.
So how can self-love be the key element to self-healing rheumatoid arthritis?
Dr. Gabor Maté, physician, public speaker and writer of the insightful and progressive book ‘When The Body Says No’ writes about how research has shown that people who experience rheumatoid arthritis have remarkably similar psychological characteristics.
See if you recognise a few:
- Pretending to yourself, and the world, you have no needs you can’t take care of yourself
- A fear of your own angry impulses (expressing and admitting feeling angry – to oneself- and to others)
- strong feelings of inadequacy
The reasons for these characteristics (i.e. people’s backgrounds) vary greatly, but the predominant experience, or memory, for most is emotional deprivation.
In a nutshell, the underlying source of these characteristics is that on some level there is a lack of self-love.
The lack of self-love (not feeling worthy, not feeling good enough) results in suppressing your true self. This causes stress and overtime causes the suppression of your immune system, which results in the expression of the physical symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
But the good news is that despite our earlier memories and experiences you and I can learn how to love ourselves again to such a degree that our immune system follows and becomes balanced again.
Self-love can be learned.
A single question you can ask yourself: is there a part of me that requires my loving attention?
You’ll discover there is a part of you you’re not loving yet, and instead are denying or punishing (or that feels punished).
You and I have the power to change that which we no longer like feeling.
I’m NOT talking about pretending to feel good when you clearly feel off, or pretending you´re fine when you´re not. Pretending in this way is just another form of suppression.
Here are 5 steps that have the power to create great change and activate self-love:
- Acknowledge. Admit how you feel.
- Allow. Permit yourself to feel what you feel. (It’s OKAY what you feel).
- Breathe. Keep breathing in and out of this feeling. (allow it to breathe and stay present with it. You´ll find the feeling starts to diminish).
- Choose. Ask the part that has come up what it needs. You can give this, even if it´s to set an intention to feeling (even just slightly) better.
This step by the way is not about a quick fix. It´s not about being ´happy´ or having to feel good instantly. Stay true to your instinct and what you need right now. You may need to come back to this part of you several times. Give healing the time it needs.
- Reward yourself. Do not underestimate the self-healing work you´ve just done. These may seem insignificant steps and that there’s still a whole mountain to climb. But, these small steps in learning self-love DO create a difference. And when practiced regularly these create THE difference.
Self-healing rheumatoid arthritis is about loving and embracing yourself more. Being kinder to yourself and acknowledging your (deep, emotional) needs.
Self-healing is about self-love. Anyone can learn it and it´s all in the doing.
What are one or some of the characteristics mentioned you recognise? And what are your experiences with the 5 steps that activate self-love? Share your thoughts below, I would love to hear from you!