Before you dive into this article, pause for a moment to acknowledge yourself for these 3 things…
1- You found the Autoimmune Sisters Community.
Dealing with autoimmunity can leave you feeling isolated and lonely. So being connected to a supportive community who “just gets it” is incredibly important, and finding one isn’t always easy, but you did it! Your diligent search for information and connection has led you to exactly where you need to be, right here.
2 – You actually have a diagnosis, are on the verge of getting one or are pretty confident in knowing what is going on with you.
On average, most people spend over 5 years and go through at least 6 doctors before they are diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, and the key to finally getting that end result is being your own best advocate. As an autoimmune sister, you have probably had to advocate for yourself in so many ways to get to where you are in your journey right now and that is no small feat.
Whether you actually have a diagnosis, are on the verge of getting one or are pretty confident in knowing what is going on with you, keep advocating for yourself so you can find the missing pieces to your health puzzle and get back to feeling like yourself again or for the very first time.
3 – You continue to try.
If you’re here, that means you haven’t given up. You are continuing to seek out resources and support in order to live your fullest life despite an autoimmune condition. And all of the autoimmune sisters are here to cheer you on so you can thrive and live life to the fullest!
None of us are perfect. We all fall off track sometimes, want to give up when the going gets tough or go through funks. What matters is that you keep trying even after falling off the wagon and you pull through the tough times. You continue to try.
It’s human nature to be your own worst critic and yet self-criticism could be one of the habits contributing to your autoimmunity. So it’s important to frequently stop and acknowledge yourself for what you have done, no matter how big or small.
We subconsciously criticize ourselves all of the time. Think about the last time someone paid you a compliment. Were you able to receive it or did you downplay it and scoff at it in your mind?
As Evette Rose describes the metaphysical aspects of autoimmune disease in her book Metaphysical Anatomy: Your Body is Talking, Are you Listening?…
“You often confuse positive criticism with a personal attack – always looking for signs in communication that an attack is imminent. You expect the worst-case scenario and are prepared for it…You often feel overwhelmed by criticism and judgement, leaving you with a great deal of anger.”
Learning to receive compliments and acknowledge yourself for what you have done may not come easy, but with presence and practice it can accelerate your autoimmune healing process.
I’ve worked with too many autoimmune clients to count, and one thing I’ve noticed most of them have in common (including myself) is a perfectionist approach to life; a so-called “A-Type” personality.
This pursuit of perfection leads us to constantly- looking ahead, striving to do better, and not recognizing the progress we’ve made or what we have accomplished in life – basically beating ourselves up for not doing or being better.
This can show up in our disease too…
Why did this happen to me
I’m working so hard to heal but I’m not better yet
I don’t want to be a burden to others
Nothing is working
What did I do to deserve this
And I’m sure the voice in your head has many other self-critical things to say just like mine can. But this constant negative chatter can literally foster illness in our body as it resonates lower vibrational activity and impairs healing.
The words we choose to use can either lift us up or break us down making the power o f acknowledgement very real.
This concept is well demonstrated in various studies around meditation, mantras, practicing gratitude and even a particular study showing how negative thoughts and words literally changed the molecular structure of water!
As I’ve learned in my healing Hashimotos journey, what I say to myself and how I treat myself has been just as important to reversing my autoimmune condition as any diet, supplement or other intervention I have implemented.
If the idea of acknowledging yourself feels uncomfortable at first, then a great starting place is making a point to acknowledge others; it’s nourishing for both of you!
Think of at least one person in your life right now who you admire for something they have recently done. Now imagine yourself walking up to them and acknowledging them for what they did by saying something like… “Hi (name), I just wanted to let you know how (proud, inspired, etc.) I am by what you recently did (explain what they did).”
As you envisioned this how did you feel?
Were you smiling, full of joy, got chills or was it a huge relief to express yourself? And the other person might have seemed uncomfortable at first but by the end they were smiling too showing just how under acknowledged we all are!
If you’re ready to acknowledge yourself, start by looking back at the last 3 months; what obstacles have you overcome, what lessons have you learned, what changes have you made, how do you feel and think differently now? Remember, no matter how small these instances are, they all count.
Take a moment to journal these appreciations and recognize your new baseline. You are not the same person as before. You are leveling up every day in little ways.
To change the conversation in your head, to make it more positive and healing, acknowledge yourself for at least one thing you’ve done every day, again no matter how big or small. It could be as simple as speaking up to order your lunch gluten-free, asking your partner to do the laundry because you were exhausted, calling your doctor to advocate for yourself in some way or even noticing how much more positive you’ve been throughout the day!
Taking time to acknowledge yourself daily will start to change the conversation in your head to create a more positive and powerful healing environment.
Give it a try for a week and share your experience below!