In my counseling work I see a lot of people with chronic physical health issues and chronic mental health issues. We all think that chronic illness begins with the diagnosis from the doctor. I don't think that is true. I know it is not true energetically. It takes a long time to get sick, and the chronic illness that is now official might have begun 20 or more years ago. This is why self-care and self-love are so important. The more love and acceptance we give to ourselves, the healthier we are in mind-body-emotions-spirit.
I am writing about this because I have a chronic problem that used to drive me crazy … make me feel very inadequate. I am blind in one eye, and I have very little depth perception. I also have some kind of neruo-muscular glitch that kicks in now and then. It was hard for me to learn to read and I was very awkward physically as a child. Today I read constantly and very quickly. The part of the chronic problem that is still a problem shows up in my writing. I can't proof read effectively. I read right over mistakes even though I might check my work a million times. I still can't do repetitive activity smoothly for any length of time. Do I notice it. Yes. Is it OK with me? Yes. This is the only body I am going to have, and I love every cell in it!
When I was in high school I took a typing class and a short hand class so that I could take notes in college and type my own papers. I was a whiz at short hand. It came naturally to me. I was the fastest in the class … but I made a D in the class. I could not transcribe without making mistakes in my writing. I forgot periods. I left out letters in words. I made a D with a teacher who had no compassion at all for my vision problem. I still can't write without the same kind of errors. Not a good thing, but I have to accept. My problem is not going to change. I depend on kind people to say “Hey Janet, you made a mistake.” I say thank you and am very grateful that they took the time to let me know my error. When I was teaching, English of all things, I used to give the students extra credit every time they found a mistake in my written work … hand outs … tests ... while writing on the board … It worked for both of us.
Self acceptance of my issue began in graduate school. Under pressure my writing, spelling and the details of periods and commas become much worse. I was taking a philosophy class and while I loved it, every test was an essay test. We were taking a mid term exam. The material was voluminous. The test had a long list of essay questions. We had a limited amount of time to answer the questions and we would all be sitting there as the buzzer went off. There was no time to proof read … the answers that went down went down quickly, and I had to live with the situation. I turned in the text booklet and prayed. When the test booklets came back, I'd earned an A+. However, the teacher took the time to mark in red every mistake that I made. The text booklet looked like it had a good case of the chicken pox. Each page was blotched with red ink. I was humiliated. Yet, the instructor gave me an A+. I had to stop and think … She recognized the problem and also recognized that I knew the material. She decided to teach me a lesson in self-worth. She did not punish me for a physical problem I had no control over. She corrected my errors and gave me credit for my knowledge. Wow! What a life lesson. What compassion. I am grateful for that professor still today. She single handedly sent me down the pathway of self-acceptance and self-love. She said very plainly, you are OK the way you are. A gift of a life-time.
I have a new client that has a chronic mental health problem. The client is a brilliant professional. Was diagnosed one year ago and has lived the whole year in trauma. My client feels that life was just wonderful until the diagnosis, but as I listen to the story, the current problem began in childhood. There was anxiety then. There was self-doubt then. There was a family that was harsh emotionally and critical. There was a parent who always had insensitive things to say. My client is now a working adult. The problems that were discussed yesterday began in childhood, but the “illness” was diagnosed last year! Now a new way of viewing self and life begins. We begin to travel down the road of self-acceptance and self-love. It won't be an easy road: it never is. Yet, it is a road worth traveling. The road of self-acceptance is a road filled with so many beautiful gifts. So many joys. So much love! So much richness. So much … LIFE!
Janet Nestor is a Self-Empowerment Guide, Diplomat in Energy Psychology, and Mental Health Therapist who practices holistically. You can find her Facebook Pathways to Wholeness Mindfulness Discussion page at www.facebook.com/pathwaystowholeness
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