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  • Writer's pictureCandy Widdifield

Our Relationship with Ourselves

How we relate to ourselves plays a big role (behind the scenes) in our recovery and transformation journey. It is very typical among brain retrainers to be very hard on themselves, to hold themselves to higher standards than they hold others, and to see it as a character flaw when things aren't going smoothly or they aren't progressing as quickly as they would like. Here we will reflect on our relationship with ourselves and explore ways to soften and befriend ourselves a little bit more.


How do you feel about yourself deep down? When you strip away all of the facades presented to the outside world, and perhaps even to those closest to you, what is underneath? If you're not sure, consider making a list of things you love about yourself and a list of things that you don't love or you wish were different. Also include a section about your believe about yourself (what you can and cannot do, what you are good at and not so good at, etc.). This will help you start to paint a picture of what your relationship with self looks like.


If you are feeling stalled in your recovery, things are taking longer than you hoped or expected, or it feels like you go one step forward and then two steps back, consider the following written exercise. Fill in the rest of this sentence: "I am not making progress (or not making progress as quickly as I would like) because...." Once you've got your first answer, ask yourself, "And what else?" Keep asking and answering the question over and over until you've sat with it for several minutes and not come up with anything more to say. Be honest and real, regardless of whether what shows up seems relevant, or even ridiculous on conscious level. This is an uncensored exercise to get to the deeper layers of beliefs, which will inevitably include beliefs you carry about yourself. You may want to follow this exercise up with a round of practice or something to change and elevate your emotional state. We don't want to wallow in what we discover, but we do want to bring it to conscious awareness.


Often times, without even being aware of it, we can blame ourselves for our conditions and for our lack of progress. Sometimes these messages are reinforced by health professionals and people in our lives that lack understanding. There can be an underlying feeling of being somehow defective or at least not good enough, because if we were good enough we would be better (or at least further along in our journey). We now know that early attachment to primary caregivers deeply impacts how we relate to ourselves (because we internalize their lack of nurtance or support as being about us instead of about them & their capacity to show up). The good news is, we can change our relationship with ourselves and learn to replace those maladaptive beliefs and negative feelings with ones that are more health affirming. We can learn to treat ourselves with the love, care and respect that we deserve. Relating to ourselves in this way supports our ability to rewire, decreasing resistance and self sabotaging behaviours because we start to recognize on a deep level that we are worthy and deserving of wellbeing.


I've heard it said more than once that our relationship with ourselves is at the foundation of our health. So how do we start to transform this relationship in a positive way? First we have to know what our relationship with ourselves actually is (which is the purpose of the written exercises above). From there, we can look at what we want it to be. Having an intention or goal gives us a direction to work toward. We can start to include more positive statements & affirmations about ourselves, which are particularly powerful when they are repeated often in a meditative state or at the end of visualizations.


We can identify what it is we are longing for and start to look at how we can include more of that in our lives. If you're yearning for something in particular from someone else, start to explore how you can give that to yourself. You may do some parts work younger parts of yourself that are wanting loving care and attention. You could ask yourself, "How can I show up for myself in a more loving, accepting, and caring way?" and follow the guidance that is given. Things may take some time to change, but know that as you continue to do these exercises you are building a foundation of a new and better relationship with yourself.


If you find yourself dismissing the content of this post, quickly going to a place of "that doesn't apply to me" or feeling defensive at the thought of exploring this, that is valuable information to you about where you are at. You may require the support of another to feel safe in exploring this, or you may not be ready to look at this aspect of recovery just yet. That's okay. The seed is now planted and there may be a time in the future when it feels more available to you. I think it's fair to say that we all have room to improve our relationships with ourselves. It is something ongoing that gets refined throughout life. The most important relationship we have in this world is the one with ourselves (which may or may not include the divinity that exists within us, depending on what you believe). It's good to keep that in mind as we navigate this recovery journey.


Best wishes on your retraining!


Caelum's Insights: (A Functional Neurology Perspective)

The other day I was asked by someone if they could see a chiropractor even if there wasn’t anything “specifically wrong”. There tends to be a misconception around chiropractic and its implications to the body and the nervous system especially. The way I like to explain this is with an analogy of a straw. When a straw has external pressure on it, it becomes a lot harder to get the water or liquid through. This concept can be applied to the nervous system as well. Think of the spinal cord as the straw and all of the bones in your spine that house it as the external protection. When one of these bones shifts or moves out of proper alignment it can put that external pressure on the spinal cord itself. This makes it really hard for your body to regulate your nervous system. This can happen even without us knowing or having anything “specifically wrong” with us. Chiropractic is great at helping reduce pain and deal with issues, but where it shines as a profession is in the area of prevention. With regular adjustments the body is able to keep the nervous system in better regulation and this can help drastically improve how we feel, sleep, and move. Not to mention when the body is in proper alignment the brain is getting more feedback from each segment of the spine. This increase in feedback to the brain helps to improve the efficiency of our nervous system. The sayings “use it or lose it” and “use it properly and improve it” are very accurate to neuroplasticity, making it that much more important to align our bodies to operate in the most functional way possible.



If you have any questions you would like answered in this blog, please email me at candy.thriving@gmail.com


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