The healing power of ‘no’
I’m a people pleaser. This is both one of my attributes and weaknesses. It’s a good thing because it means I’m (mostly) seen as a nice person, but on the other hand it means that I tend to give more of myself than I really truly want to. I have trouble saying no, without a big stab of guilt punishing me for it. I have always known this, but it wasn’t until I had a conversation with Dr Greg Schreeuwer (you might remember him from yesterday’s thought-provoking guest post) that I realised just how much damage this incessant need to please could be doing to me.
Dr Schreeuwer works with people to uncover the underlying causes of their illnesses. We had an awesome long chat about what I was like and what was happening in my life at the time I suspect my cancer was manifested (about 10 years ago, when I was 16), when I was diagnosed (at 22) and right up until I started Gerson Therapy (at 24). I won’t bore you with the details of my pre-cancer personality, but Dr Schreeuwer helped me discover a pattern – I have had a penchant for giving so much of myself away without taking the time to nurture and nourish myself properly. Among others, this showed itself in my binge drinking, poor eating habits, working long hours, and not standing up for myself in past romantic relationships and friendships. Growing up as a pretty spoilt (but not a spoilt brat!) only child, I was always very conscious that I could be perceived as being selfish and I was desperate not to be thought of in this way. I remember being called selfish when I was younger and it cut me deep. So subconsciously, it turns out I would strive to be selfless.
Dr Schreeuwer reiterated what Louise Hay also says about the left side of the body being the “feminine” side, and about the left hand and arm being linked to “giving”. We concluded that my cancer may have manifested in this area to send me a message to stop giving so much of myself away, and to start taking or giving myself what I need. Drilling deeper down into my situation, Dr Schreeuwer found it fascinating that my only treatment option in the eyes of conventional medicine was to have my arm amputated. It was kind of like my body was giving me a very simple ultimatum – stop giving so much of yourself away, or you will lose your arm and physically won’t be able to continue giving.
I completely understand that this kind of rationalising isn’t for everyone, and that is okay. I also realise that it probably makes many people uncomfortable to look at something as controversial as cancer from this angle. However, for me personally, it makes a lot of sense. I have always had an inkling that part of my past behavioural patters may have contributed to the manifestation of my disease (why else would I get such a rare cancer at such a young age – I was reckless with my eating and drinking, but no more than anyone else my age), and I find it empowering to be able to link it to something that I possess the power to change.
By taking on Gerson Therapy – a healing modality that requires me to pour all of my energy into nurturing myself – I had already started to rewire my old habits. Everything I do is directed at healing my body, mind and spirit. However, I have realised I still have a little way to go. I still have trouble saying ‘no’ to people, I still hate letting people down in any way, and I will still usually put my own needs and wants aside to accommodate others (my boyfriend is probably laughing after reading that). I recognise that in some ways, I am still a bit of a pushover. But I’m working on it. Dr Schreeuwer gave me a little exercise to complete every time I want to say no to someone, but start getting the guilts. He said to write a list of 100 benefits the person will receive by me saying no to them – that way my brain will start to understand that saying no is actually beneficial to both parties. If I want to take it further, he said I should also list 100 drawbacks the person will experience from me saying yes to them when I feel too guilty to say no. I have started doing these exercises and I have to say I’m surprised by how well they work. I’m also planning on doing some EFT (emotional freedom technique) tapping to help release further stored emotions and patterns, so stay tuned for a post about my experiences with that.
Have you recognised any patterns in your behaviour that may be linked to an illness or dis-ease in your body?
I just want to take a moment at the end of this post to thank Dr Schreeuwer for taking the time to eloquently and patiently answer everyone’s questions under yesterday’s post. It takes pretty thick skin to be willing to write about such a controversial topic on the web, and I’m incredibly grateful to have his knowledge and views add another dimension to my site. Whether you agree with him or not, I think it’s an important part of our wellness journeys to be presented with ALL of the different healing theories. What you do with the information is up to you, but people deserve respect for having the guts and compassion for putting their thoughts and findings out there for our consideration. Think about how limited the world would be if we all kept closed minds?
Positive affirmation for the day: I am kind and respectful to all beings.
Image credit: Anne-Lise Heinrichs
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