As a (wo)man thinketh …

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“As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”
James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

Our bodies react to our thoughts, emotions and beliefs. Science is now proving what many eastern philosophers and mind body practitioners have always known; there is a direct correlation between what goes on in our mind and what happens in the body.  Our self talk and beliefs generate emotions which in turn affect our hormones. Chronic and persistent negative attitudes, beliefs, and internal dialogue not only upset the body’s hormonal balance but can damage our immune system as well.

What sparked this train of thought you might wonder?  Well, a few weeks ago I visited my chiropractor who is also a kinesiologist. He is helping me overcome some significant health issues at the moment. We’ve been working toward a solution for some time now and he was baffled as to why certain symptoms hadn’t improved with treatment. He identified, as he was muscle testing, that whatever was impeding my recovery was also frying my brain. Puzzlement gave way to understanding as he pointed to the middle of my head and said “It’s hate. Self hate. Hate directed toward yourself.” He told me that my body couldn’t recover until I got that under control.

I felt as though I’d been slapped. How damning for someone to name what was actually going on inside me, the very thing I’ve been hiding from the world for the last thirty or so years.

You see, I’m guilty of some pretty negative self talk at times (Yes, even relatively high functioning and seemingly well balance people have inner demons) but to be honest I wasn’t aware just how bad it was.

Of course the tears flowed.

I’ve been trying to improve my inner dialogue and find ways to love myself more for probably the last ten years. I get good at it then something happens that triggers a downward spiral and I plummet into despair and self loathing. Who would know, right? It’s not like I’m going to disclose it to the world for fear of being judged as weak, mad or unstable. (Oh, hang on. I did just now disclose my dirty little secret to the world. Judge away. Condemn if you will.)

My husband, bless his heart, has for years seen this demon wreak havoc with my self esteem, confidence and joy. He has often counselled me to stop being so hard on myself.  It’s not like I haven’t listened or heard him clearly. At times I was simply at a loss as to how to change the cycle.

I have used meditation, exercise and a clean diet to help get on top of this with varying degrees of success. You kind of have to make time to do these things, consistently, for them to work consistently. When I get tired, down or just plain lazy, they are the first things to go.

So, here I was, facing my chiropractor, a lovely young man, tears streaming down my face and he is telling me all the same things as suggested ways to help me overcome this hate. Diet, exercise, meditation. “Yep! you’ve been doing it for years but you can’t just dip in every now and then. It has to be a habit. You have to make it a daily routine. A minute by minute focus.”

That’s a gem right there – a minute by minute attention to what’s going on inside and pulling it up as it occurs. I’ll work with that.

Three more of his suggestions also struck a chord. He said to ask the universe to help me find things to be passionate about, find a physical challenge (like training for a triathlon – does he realise I’m forty-four and haven’t run in five years?) and use the word ‘love’ as my mantra.

So, I’ve asked the universe to help me find a passion, something to get my attention, hold my interest and get me excited about life. Already, a few things have popped up.  On the physical challenge front, I am strongly considering a hike to base camp of Ama Dublam next year. I reckon that ticks off one and two. It’s something to get passionate about and a challenge.

On the mantra front, I kid you not, I’m using it all the time. Whenever I catch myself in negative self talk I simply chant the words “love, love, love” and I come back to myself. It really is that simple. I chanted a lot in the first few days and as the weeks stretched on, I’ve not needed to chant quite so much.

Our mind and body share an intimate and dynamic relationship. Understanding this relationship won’t necessarily cure all our ills but by learning to pay attention to our symptoms and illnesses we can discover, as Louise Hay has taught, how repressed as well as overt emotions are influencing our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

So, if your body is your temple and knowing your body reacts to your thoughts; what are you feeding yours today?

Yours in continued personal development,
Shannyn

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11 thoughts on “As a (wo)man thinketh …

  1. Love this honest and genuine post. I have done a lot of self work in my fifty plus years. Loving myself has been the key to it all. Yes find a passion, and now it may need to be minute to minute focus, but you can train the mind to be kind to yourself. Consistency is key. I am cheering you on!

  2. Hi Shannyn,
    Geez, this is another one of your raw posts that makes me want to respond.
    I love that you have techniques that are useful to you in breaking negative thoughts. That is wonderful, and I applaud you for your diligent use of them.
    But… I hate that you feel guilty about having those thoughts.
    ‘Fuck it’ I say.
    I am so over my own toughness on the self and of all the other women I know.
    Why are we so tough on ourselves?
    I have just had to talk to my daughter about it being ok to just ‘be’. She can’t ever be perfect the way she thinks she must be, and in fact, it is wise for her to notice those times she feels she must, and just breathe. For her to find ways to cope with the anxiety of not being able to live up to her own ideas of perfection, and to then just ‘have a go’.
    I feel I can relate to you. I feel I have heard you blog before about having a tough mother. I had one of those too. For me it left an essential wounding, of not being seen that needs to be dealt with, but I don’t know that it means I have self-hate.
    Maybe for you, like for me, it’s just about opening up to more self-acceptance. Opening up to more of those moments where you go: “No, I’m not going to wind up about all the things I have to do, then beat myself into doing them, but instead I am going to sit here and drink a cup of tea”. So that is what I do, and it is freaking awesome. It is so simple and relaxed and I’ve allowed myself the space to just be.
    I can’t help but wonder if your chiropractor is really right. Maybe you just needed some more time to heal, or many other possibilities or reasons. Surely there is many factors at play, and thoughts can certainly be a part of it. However, I hate that it seems as if the results of his treatment for you are compromised because you have ‘self-hate’. Fuck that. That is just blaming the victim and it makes me mad. It also makes me think of the self-help gurus who blame the people with cancer for creating it. Urgh. It is such an unhelpful way of looking at things, and it does nothing to help the person overcome their ordeal with love and support.
    Of course you are going to feel like crap and cry. It’s just one more thing someone is telling you that you are to blame for, and that you are not working hard enough to be perfect so that they feel comfortable. So then they give you even more things to do (YOU MUST DO ALL THE THINGS!!).
    This may be completely off track, but could it be his own self-hate or anxiety at not being able to find the solution to your health problems is more the issue? I’m not trying to say that he didn’t have a point, but I feel like too many men are happy to tell women what is wrong with them. I just think that the blaming of you needs to be questioned.
    I know I have ranted a bit here, and I hope I haven’t made you feel bad. I accept you whether you want to beat yourself up or not. But I want it to be your choice, not because someone is making you feel that you should.
    I guess ultimately I feel like saying: “Feel bad, or don’t feel bad. It’s ok either way”.
    Hugs to you,
    Louisa xx

    • Hi Louisa, wow. Thank you for your response. I hear you and understand each point you make. Believe me, right now the physical challenge is on hold while my body takes it’s time to recover. I am enjoying lots of cups of tea while curling up with books. I do the stuff I have to do and then the rest is time for pottering, resting and just being. At first it was uncomfortable and I felt guilty that I should have been doing something else but now I accept that it just is.

      I am excited by the idea of a challenge and something to look forward to but I’m actually listening to what my body needs right now and apart from rest there is self acceptance that needs to develop. I have for years and years tried to be the best at everything to be accepted by others. Now I’m more interested in learning to accept myself just as I am. That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to strive and set goals but my goals will be things I want to achieve and not those things I think other people expect of me.

      Your daughter is very lucky to have a wise mother who teaches her to accept herself. That’s the greatest gift I think we can give our children.

      Thank you again for taking the time to respond and for your love and concern.

      Much love to you,
      Shannyn

      • Hi Shannyn,
        Thanks for the reply.
        Yay for rests and tea and books. It’s great to hear that you are finding that resting time for yourself. Luckily, I have managed a little of that for myself over the last few days (it’s probably why I am far less ranty! :P).
        I have also been chanting ‘love, love, love’.
        I hope you have a great week.
        Love Louisa xx

  3. you let us know that inside we all have so many similar journeys. Thanks Shannyn for being brave and posting these feelings. You’ve hit the nail on the head with focus on WHAT do we have our Momentum on? like you say, we often forget that “minute by minute” we create our life and our tomorrow’s bodies. wishing you a Joyful journey, as you -like us all- learn to discover your REAL Greatness!!! you rock it!

    • Mike, thank you for taking the time to read my post and for your supportive comment. A heartfelt thank you.
      I do worry at times about being so honest and revealing so much in my posts but, like you pointed out, I figure our journeys are so similar that hopefully I can reassure and perhaps inspire others in similar situations.
      It is an exciting, if not occasionally frustrating, journey we are on isn’t it?
      Take care. Thank you again, it was great to hear your thoughts.

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