I’m guessing that your first response to coming down with a cold, flu or other illness is one of frustration, resistance, anger or perhaps even some fear.
The subject of illness will generally inspire moans, groans and an overall negativity. Illness is considered bad. Illness means something is wrong. But is that really true, why is it seen as such a negative and what exactly is the source of that negativity?
Well, certainly there are the obvious reasons of the pain and discomfort associated with the body becoming unwell. Pain usually does not feel good!
Then there are the inevitable interruptions to daily life – cancellations, missed opportunities, disappointments, organizing substitutes, babysitters, rearranging car pools, schedules, etc. Add to that the stress of missing deadlines at work, letting down clients and customers, aggravating supervisors.
What about fear? Who fears your unwellness – you or someone else? What happened when you first became unwell as a baby or young child? Did your mother or father become fearful for your survival, or even resentful of you for causing such fear within themselves? If so, how much of that fear is still being carried within your body?
Let’s not forget responsibility! Are there people relying and/or dependent on you for their support, survival or wellbeing?
Considering all of the above scenarios, possibilities and energies, it is easy to see why illness is considered a negative in life, something to be avoided if at all possible.
But perhaps we are missing something when we only look at the negative side of illness. And maybe we are even compounding the unwellness by granting space for such resistance and negativity.
Your body is an intricate, delicately balanced, finely tuned and brilliant piece of machinery. As with all machines, there are times when parts or systems will become out of balance resulting in unwellness or illness.
When your car’s warning lights come on, such as OIL CHANGE NEEDED, LOW FUEL, or CHECK ENGINE, this is it’s method of communication that something needs attention, repair and maintenance.
When your body becomes unwell, this is its way of letting you know that something is out of balance; that there is part of your system requiring your attention; that it is time to stop and make some adjustments.
However, if the energy of responsibility, expectations or fear is bigger, stronger or senior to your connection with your own body, the result is frustration, anger or fear of that unwellness – this can result in a need to override that communication and attempt to suppress or conquer the illness as soon as possible.
Rather than acknowledging that your body is saying hello and asking for some help, you fight, ignore, suppress or dismiss the communication which in turn creates even more of a disconnect and less opportunity to truly and efficiently address the illness so that healing can occur.
Not many people enjoy pain, however it is an efficient and essential warning signal. Without the ability to feel pain, we could unknowingly endanger our lives. For example, if we felt no pain when we sustained an injury, we could bleed to death, contract a life-threatening infection or lose the use of a limb to name just a few possibilities.
Illness, injury or unwellness presents us an opportunity – the opportunity to listen to, recognize the needs of and take care of our bodies. As a good friend of mine recently reminded me when I came down with a cold virus, illness reminds us to go within and heal.
Suppressing, burying or overriding unwellness in order to “carry on as normal” is in no way beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing. It may provide a temporary solution to the interruption of your daily life, but areas of unwellness left unaddressed simply lie beneath the surface, building up pressure, ready to errupt at a later date.
I invite you to try something new and different next time you fall ill. Try to see it as a positive experience, a time to recognize the needs of your body and an opportunity to spend some time with yourself away from the pressures, expectations and responsibilities of your daily routine.
You may find the world doesn’t fall apart, your children survive, your boss, manager, supervisor, clients don’t die. You may even find that not fighting or resisting the illness allows for a speedier recovery.