There’s no question, everybody lies – and most often it’s by ourselves, to ourselves, about ourselves. However, it goes even beyond being “our own worst critic”, though that is also true. I’m talking about our belief system – not only a limited belief system, but our thoughts and beliefs that create our future. The mind is very powerful, so it’s no wonder that if we have an ingrained belief from our past, we constantly relive that belief in the future – truth or not!
I remember a while back, reading a study at a university where a person on grounds was targeted and the class would individually and frequently go up to this person and say stuff like “Oh, man, you’re not looking great – are you feeling alright?” and after enough people went up to him saying a variation of it, guess what? He got sick.
As I read through the book “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself”, it really got me thinking about how I think about myself and why I have those opinions.
One thing I’ve always hated about myself is my constitution – I seem to get sick ALL THE TIME and it, really, pisses me off! I always remember that study and have to wonder if I’m making myself sick – but instead of a physical response from an outside influence, I’m having a physical response from an internal influence… and I need to analyze why this happens and if it’s psychosomatic.
When I was younger, in my mid-teens, I got very sick with mono. I was sick for over 2 months; I didn’t finish the school year but passed with a B+ average, I lost a lot of “baby fat” and had people compliment me on how good I looked, I got to eat anything I wanted because it was more important for me to eat something than be picky about what it was. I got sick, and yet it was a positive experience – I don’t remember how I felt while being sick, I just remember all the good things associated with being sick.
And I think that’s where it all began – because I was sick a LOT after that; bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, silent asthma (yup, that’s a thing!), migraines, allergies, and mysterious coughs and congestion that lasts for weeks and months. I’ve identified in the past; I get a crappy sleep, I don’t want to go to work and the more I dwell on not wanting to go to work, I feel congestion in my lungs, I start coughing, a migraine starts developing and I decide that I need to call in sick so I can stay home and sleep more. Sometimes that’s all I need and I return to work the next day– but other times, it carries on. And on, and on, and on.
I have to admit, slightly ashamed, that I probably milk it longer than I need to. I know there’s been a few days that I just don’t feel that I have the mental capability to go to work; I’d rather stay home. I’m taking care of my mental health, right? I know everyone has those days, but I’m starting to think that these days happen more frequently than they should. Now, I’m not saying that my sicknesses are made up… or 100% true – I can’t look back at over 20 year worth of sicknesses and determine whether they were real, made up, or psychosomatic – but it’s really made me open my eyes to the possibility that I am living a false truth; that I’m a sickly person.
For instance, in July – when I was sick AGAIN after having been sick in June – the day that I went into work but left to go back to the doctor’s because my cough was incessant, he pretty much said “you’re not dying, you don’t have pneumonia, it’s just a cough”. He did give me some cough medicine… after I asked for it… and I got the rest of the day off… after I asked for it; I couldn’t bare going into work. The next morning? Cough was gone. Yeah, it could have been the medicine he gave me (it was very potent!) however, maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was more of a “well, you’ve milked it for as long as you can get away with. Time to go back to work”.
I’ve always said “when I’m on, I’m on, but when I’m off, I’m way off”. This has to do with how I eat and exercise between when I’m healthy and when I’m sick. When I’m sick or not feeling well, I tend to crave crap – which, in turn, makes me feel even more sick because I’m eating junk food and that’s simply how my body reacts to it. With a sore throat? Ice cream because it makes my throat feel better. A cold? Chicken noodle soup – or Mr. Noodle as there’s no actual chicken in it. Now, what if that whole thing (when I’m on/off) isn’t so much of not having the willpower to not eat these foods, but more of a conditioned mind/body reaction to an ingrained habit from when I was younger. When I was sick when I was younger, I got preferential treatment. Being sick equated to sympathy and eating whatever made me feel better.
Makes sense to me!
It’s like people in a study and given a sugar pill but they believe that it’s actual medication. They believe in their head that the medication is making them better… and yet, it’s not medication at all. Placebo effect has been documented all the time, and it’s repeatedly been shown that people get better because of their mind.
It’s a hard realization to come to – that you’ve been inadvertently lying to yourself, your loved ones, and the people around you. Whether it was conscious or unconscious, it really sucks! I’ve been playing victim of my health for, probably, decades. At the time, the illnesses seemed very real and tangible… but I also know that a portion of them have likely been exaggerated and inflated – but I can honestly say I wouldn’t be able to tell you which is which.
It sucks coming to terms with this – especially how I hate feeling sick and unwell – and yet, I’m beginning to realize, that I could be at fault for it! I’m hoping with this knowledge, I’ll be able to really look at days when I’m not feeling well; am I really, honestly sick? Or am I having a physical response to a learned behavior?
What false truths are you trying to overcome?