One thing I notice in my sessions with clients who are working very hard to take back their bodies is one common: They have trouble putting themselves first. They let their families, children and husband and everyone else come first. And then I think: no wonder they are sick. This is a part of the problem. One of the transformations I need them to grasp is to change that- permanently.
To go on a health journey, you have to be okay with coming first.
Now before your inner thoughts and fears jump up and tell you that doing that is “selfish”, hear me out. Because I don’t think it is selfish. In fact, I think it is selfish to not put yourself first. Let me explain a little better.
I only work with patients who are willing to put their health as a number one priority and sometimes I worry that they don’t really understand what that means. This task is especially hard to women, who are the majority of my clients. We are told to put others first, to serve, and to even be smaller so that we do not take up too much space. Watch a man and woman sit next to each other. A man often expands, spreading his legs and putting his arm on the back of the chair next to him. A woman often puts her legs together (even when wearing modest pants) and slouches her shoulders downward, often putting her legs to one side to take up less leg room. This is often done subconsciously, programmed into us over time. But children do not do this: and so it must have been learned behavior. But what does that have to do with health? We still do it there- we take us less space- in our own life. Even in our own life, where we are the constant main character. But let me make one thing clear:
First a harsh reality:
You will NEVER heal from complex disease unless you put your health as a number one priority. You just won’t.
It also means that if you stop, then you may lose what you gained. After all, Ifyou do the same things, you will get the same results. So to get different results- it means putting yourself first. I’ll explain from the beginning:
When we are created (or formed), we are first given a soul, then a mind, then a body. The way I see it, our responsibilities here on this earth are in the order that they are given. First we are created, then we are given a family and then we are given our purpose or mission (which hopefully is your job, if you are lucky). And that is also the order of our priorities, if we do things right. And when we make our priorities reflect this order, things fall in place. We are happy, healthy, and have what we need.
So let me say this in a different way: We all say we prioritize health, family and work/mission. But what order are you prioritizing them? I used to struggle if my mission or my husband should come first- and I could debate on which one I was given first, but lets say that I was given family before my mission, for argument’s sake (your answer can be different if you wish:)
And so, my priorities are the following (and in this order)
This means that the first thing you make room for on your schedule is taking care of yourself: health, mind, body and soul.
Then you make sure your family’s needs are met.
Both of these priorities require that the next be your third priority: your job/income/purpose/or mission on earth. This is how I can take care of myself and my family (my putting a roof over their heads and food on the table). Maybe you feel your mission is being a wife and mom: and then you are lucky- there is shorter list:) (it at least looks good on paper, right?). But I cannot take care of my family or my purpose if I do not first take care of myself. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
But notice that the priorities overlap
But if I ever have to choose, then my choice is according to my priority. Now don’t get me wrong: there are two levels of priority: Big Picture and Right Now. Right now I am working and writing this article: this is my mission. If my husband calls and it is not an emergency, then right now- work is my priority for this part of my day. But if I ever have to choose between my husband’s safety, happiness or my marriage- then my job will lose every time- without apology.
And if I have to choose between saving myself or my husband in an emergency, then my first responsibility is to myself. It is not that I do not love my husband or think he is important. In fact, I would be ok dying in a car wreck to save his life. But I have a responsibility to take care of myself or trying to save him from a burning car will just end up with both of us dead (yes, a quite dramatic example) But everyday, I mean that I will not sacrifice my health to make my husband happy. And I make no apology. In fact, I would be pissed if he made himself sick to make me happy. Let me give a concrete example:
I have a rare form of Celiac Disease called Gluten Ataxia. This is where Celiac Attacks the brain (among other things). If my husband decided that his happiness depended on me being in danger- for example having crumbs all over the kitchen and not keeping my food safe when he made or stored his own food- then I would choose me over his happiness. This would be a deal breaker for me. As would hitting me or endangering me in any way at all.
I am not going to get sick so that he can have a sandwich. I like walking, talking and being well more than I like him. I love him, but I am not getting sick for anyone. Luckily, I do not have to choose: he understands that this is important also and makes choices to keep me safe: he thinks I am a higher priority than bread. yay. #truelove
But how does this translate to a healing journey?
When your health comes first, it means it comes before a desire for food that may harm you. When your health comes first, this means that even if your kids get sick- you eat healthy and do what you need to do to get well. This means that even if your husband does bring in bread- that you do what it takes to keep your food safe. This means that we cook our own dinner before we cook a separate dinner for the kids or the husband. And if you only cook one, then they lose. This means that if the only time you can take care of you is in the morning- that you find a job that you can go to so that you can take care of you every morning (Even if it means finding a new job). It means that in the meantime, I’m going to find a way to do something until I can fully take care of myself: even if it is just touch my toes every night. It means that If my health is a number one priority- then I put off buying a new car because I need that payment to pay for my health journey. It means you make hard choices, over and over again because your health is the most important thing.
So I am going to ask you now- Where are you on your priority list? Are you first? or last? If you aren’t sure, then take some time to decide. Once you decide, ask yourself what it means to live in a way that reflects what you say your priorities are… because if you say you come first but your actions say another: then its your actions that count.
No matter which you try, you are choosing which goes on the back burner: if its you, then its also your health. If you aren’t health– who is going to take care of everything else? So, really.. is it so selfish?
For more great articles, newsletters and more, be sure to sign up for the Take Your Body Back Newsletter and don’t miss the articles, information, recipes and more. Sign up below so you don’t miss a thing!