Grasping for cure…why trying to cure yourself is killing you

Many people come to my office look­ing for a cure for their issues, although I’m not sure every­one is aware of what a cure actu­ally is. A cure has many defin­i­tions; it can be a rem­edy to relieve phys­ic­al symp­toms, it can be the begin­ning of a new beha­viour that allows for a situ­ation to change which relieves suf­fer­ing, it can be the elim­in­a­tion of a cer­tain sub­stance to reduce pain. So cure for each per­son can be very, very dif­fer­ent, and in fact, that is the beau­ti­ful thing about it!

When most of us exper­i­ence dis­com­fort, we would like to do any­thing to get rid of that feel­ing, call it pain or dis­com­fort or dis­ease or unease. Akin to stick­ing our heads into the sand like ostriches, it would be so much easi­er to get a straight-for­ward solu­tion to our con­cerns; a herb, a food, a diet plan, a med­ic­a­tion, a mas­sage, and often, these meth­ods do help. However, many chron­ic dis­eases arise with the line of think­ing that any one thing, per­son, situ­ation can fix our prob­lems. When we look at a tem­por­ary fix for our dis­com­fort, it might give us more imme­di­ate relief (eat­ing to self-soothe, tak­ing an Advil for our head­aches for the six­tieth time) but ulti­mately our prob­lems will return.

It’s a lot more work to deal with our pain head on, and come to terms with all of the facets that might be con­trib­ut­ing to it. Take for example, weight reten­tion. Notice I’m not say­ing obesity or being over­weight, and I’m not refer­ring to genet­ic weight reten­tion that can be a lot more chal­len­ging to shift. The kind of weight reten­tion I’m refer­ring to is the kind that is related to neg­at­ive self-worth, a stress­ful job, a lack of aware­ness of healthy choices, and so on, that ulti­mately would pre­vent us from attain­ing lower body weight.

In the short-term, it is easi­er to look for a “detox” or a diet plan for 15 days, where we can lose the weight, but ulti­mately, not make those per­man­ent changes where we under­stand what our body, mind, and soul truly need for per­man­ent weight man­age­ment.

So the next time you are look­ing for the next “cure” for your ail­ments (be those phys­ic­al, men­tal, or emo­tion­al) as your­self:

1. What am I really try­ing to accom­plish?
2. What aspects to the situ­ation am I see­ing?
3. What aspects of my situ­ation am I not see­ing clearly?
4. Could I get a lov­ing per­spect­ive from a friend, col­league or fam­ily mem­ber on some of the pat­terns they see in me that could use some sup­port with my situ­ation?
5. Are my expect­a­tions for improved health real­ist­ic, or could they also use a dif­fer­ent per­spect­ive?

These 5 ques­tions lead to import­ant and object­ive under­stand­ing of what might be hap­pen­ing with­in you, and then, you will have a more com­pas­sion­ate meth­od in which to go towards the goal you want; releas­ing excess­ive weight, improved stress man­age­ment, decreased pain…whatever your end goal hap­pens to be. The less we try to attain the “cure” (or in this dis­cus­sion, the one solu­tion) to our issues, and the more we strive to under­stand how our issues arose in the first place, the easi­er path to reliev­ing our dis­com­fort. It sounds coun­ter­pro­duct­ive; but it gets us to our des­tin­a­tion.

Think about one issue that has really been plaguing you. I’m sure you have a timeline for how that solu­tion must be addressed, or who must help you, and what must the out­come be. Could you sit with your­self for 5 minutes, and con­sider all of the aspects of the issue with more objectiv­ity? Imagine talk­ing a friend through this and what you might say. Would you be will­ing to open your mind to all of the pos­sib­il­it­ies to solve this prob­lem? You might sur­prise your­self with your own jour­ney to cure — and how your whole self responds with much more ease to this healthy line of think­ing.

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