Originally published on Sarahwilson.com by Sarah Wilson
I’ve analyzed autoimmune disease from all different angles, and tried to treat my own such disease from just as many angles. I’ve looked into gluten, cosmetic toxins and, of course, sugar.
When I’m asked, though, “What caused your disease?” I have to be frank and say – once all angles are ironed out – everything points to… anxiety. Or as I like to put it, a profound, visceral, itchy dis-ease with myself.
I always say that I can spot an AI type. They have an intensity about them, a desire to impress. They’re always the ones at the front of my lectures, frantically taking notes. They have an air of ‘I’m not good enough as I am’.
A while back I watched TED talk by Dr. Habib Sadeghi, an American “healer to the stars”, in which he cites self-hatred as the real cause of chronic disease, particularly in women.
The gist goes like this…
* Illness is what happens when women, the nurturers of humanity, forget how to nurture themselves. Word!
* He draws parallels to dirt. Excessive plowing and unmindful practices by farmers ruins the grass that keeps our soil grounded and healthy. Land is then left barren, exposed, degraded and stripped of its life-giving power. Which means when hard times strike – like a severe drought – the once-nutrient rich soil becomes lifeless dirt, devoid of any nourishing or nurturing capabilities. There’s no resilience. And humanity starves.
Got the parallel with self-care?
* So, when we don’t have the proper tools to nurture our grassland – our spiritual ecosystem, if you will – the soil of our soul becomes exposed to negative stuff. And humanity starves.
“It dries up, loses its nourishing capabilities and blows away, leaving us completely ungrounded. How many people do you know who are flighty, scattered or addicted to drama? They’ve lost their resilience, the ability to nourish and nurture their soul through the ups and downs of life.”
* What does it mean to nourish our grassland? My take is this: not constantly doubting and putting the breaks on emotions, innocently and authentically responding to things, being able to cradle and accommodate our own (sometimes extreme and erratic etc) emotional responses rather than relying on external things (other people, drugs, gurus). So that we don’t “end up living in a spiritual dustbowl of self-judgment, hopelessness, and cynicism”.
* Self-hatred is the biggest impediment to cradling ourselves, especially in women. This self-hatred emerges from thinking we’re not adhering to the ideals set out for us.
“We’re constantly putting women up against standards they can’t possibly meet. When you can’t be the ideal wife, mother, girlfriend, teacher, cook, church volunteer, corporate executive and activist at 20 pounds below your healthy body weight, what’s left but to silently (and subconsciously) hate yourself because you’re not perfect?”
* And so…
“Self-hatred causes autoimmune disease, which, boiled down, is the body attacking itself.”
* So how to heal? With self-love. I rarely know what this means and it mostly seems a bit “motherhoody” to me. But I can see how key it is. You can do all the tests, elimination diets and treatments you like, but, boil it all down, there’s always a sneaking feeling that it’s more than the gluten or the toxin or the hereditary predisposition. Right?
Sometimes I sit and really feel what’s behind a flare up. The only feeling there, behind the pain and shitiness, is a cringy, self-flagellating, forward-lunging anxiety. It’s always there, whatever the flare. The same feeling.
* And a final statement that floats my spiritual boat:
“There’s no need to fear the future because we know that so long as constant change is life’s nature, survival doesn’t go to the fittest, but to the most resilient—and resiliency always resides in the richest soil.”