What creates true health and wellbeing? Is it seeing your doctor every year? Eating healthy food? Exercising every day? Yes, taking these things into consideration is very important. There is something that is more important than all of these according to the research that Brene Brown Ph.D. and Lissa Rankin, M.D. have done on this issue.
There are many people out there who are ill with aches and pains, with feelings of anxiety and perhaps depression and yet as Dr. Rankin found out over her medical career there is no test that will show what the real problem is for it isn’t medical. It is of the mind. She states very clearly that she too had her own “perfect storm” when she lost her brother to liver failure, her father to a brain tumor and her husband cutting off two of his fingers in an accident as he was to be the “stay at home dad” to her new born baby. What she realized after all of this was that with all the masks she was wearing she wasn’t being true to who she was. Sure she was a doctor, mom, wife, etc. She had a career and plenty of money in her retirement with all the trappings of success and yet, she was not happy in the life she was living. She was doing all the “shoulds” instead of focusing on what mattered to her most. In her career as a doctor she felt helpless in her work because the conventional medical system never taught her in her twelve years of training how to help people that were in this unhappy state of being. And, then it dawned on her to learn integrative types of treatment like acupuncture, healing with herbs. But something was still missing. Then she realized that the answers for her patients weren’t “out there” somewhere, they were in the patients’ minds. They needed to be true to who they were and do what they knew mattered to them as she had to do for herself.
Brene Brown states quite emphatically that one of the dangers that we are doing to our kids these days is telling them that they are perfect and making life easy for them. Why is this a problem? Because it leads them to believe that being less than perfect makes them feel they are unworthy of love and care. Instead what we need to teach our children is that they are imperfect and that they will have struggles and are still worthy of love and attention.
Why is this such a problem. According to Dr. Brown it has everything to do with our own issues of vulnerability. Our need to pretend to be what we feel society is asking of us to be instead of following our hearts. Being true to who we are and living our truths. She found through her research that happy people allow themselves to be vulnerable being willing to take the risks to love even if it isn’t returned. To try new things though they may not be successful knowing that they are indeed “good enough” just as they are.
Without the ability to be vulnerable Dr. Brown is quite clear that of joy, gratitude, happiness and creativity get numbed out which brings in the feelings of unhappiness and unworthiness. It’s an endless cycle.
I have found in my practice that both these woman are correct in their findings. I challenge my clients to look at themselves with love and compassion for it is with the ability to love the self that one can be lovable to others. With compassion for the self, one can be compassionate for others. This too is part Dr. Brown’s message.
If you are a person whose body is telling you that perhaps you are doing all the “shoulds” in life yet leaving out all the “heart’s desires” take a deeper look at how you are living your life. It is a not just a matter of quality of life, it is a matter of your health itself.
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