A Love Letter to my Fellow Wellness Warriors: Your Circumstance is not Your Identity
I was watching a Mastin Kipp lecture. (For those of you, who don’t know Mastin Kipp, he is the creator of The Daily Love: an absolutely incredible website and community.) A recent lecture by Mastin really resonated with me. He spoke about how our circumstance is not our identity.
As a person, who has spent the last 7 years reclaiming my health, I really connect with the philosophy of separating my circumstance from my identity. And, I think without fulling realizing it until I listened to Mastin’s lecture, the philosophy of separating circumstance from identity has been a powerful mindset for me during the last 7 years.
It is extremely easy to fall down the rabbit hole into serious despair when you’re faced with a life changing illness. And, as the years progress, I can see how one would begin to think that they are their illness — like the illness is now their identity.
I have met many people, who have become their illness: it monopolizes their conversation, and they have trouble speaking about anything else and moving forward in recovery. I absolutely can’t blame them for this metamorphosis because I know how all consuming chronic illness is — I live it; I know it.
After listening to Mastin, however, I made the realization that I unconsciously chose a different path. I chose not to swim in the pool of despair. Instead, I chose to keep my identity away from my illness. Because, ultimately, I am not my illness. I am not Lyme Disease.
I am an intelligent, vibrant, loving and creative girl, who happens to have a visitor in my temple (her name is Lyme, and she’s an unwelcome house guest).
I believe that this mindset has helped me to move forward toward recovery. I’m always looking to the future, and I’m always focusing in on projects that create happiness in my life. The creative process is very healing for me.
I love to celebrate my small victories in healing but I also strive to move forward — I strive to boot my unwelcome house guest to the curb. Danielle Laporte refers to this celebration of the present moment with a quick turn to aspirations of bigger and better experiences as Divine Dissatisfaction.
Divine Dissatisfaction fuels my fire. It is my life’s blood. The act of moving forward, and happily anticipating success, has been so crucial not only for my professional success but during the healing process as well. And, abstaining from intertwining your identity with your illness or circumstance is a key to fueling the desire to push forward toward recovery.
Let’s be honest…it takes a great deal of strength and stamina to stay on the path to recovery. And, the belief that you are your illness can act as a ball and chain that only slows you down on your journey.
I don’t want anything to slow me down. And, I don’t want you to be held back either. We are fighting this fight together. You are not alone.
I’m happy that I’m here with you, and the only way that was possible was because of Lyme. So, my unwelcome house guest has served some divine purpose, right?
- Without Lyme I would never have started this blog.
- Without Lyme I would have never changed my diet and discovered how powerful food is for a healthy body and healthy mind.
- Without Lyme, I would not have discovered just how strong I am. And I wouldn’t be here speaking with you.
In Mastin’s talk, he spoke about how we cling to our circumstance as our identity, and we become frozen on the path to recovery or success because:
- We desire to avoid the risk of being disappointed over and over and over again.
- And, the act of identifying with your circumstance makes it easier to stop trying to move forward.
Saying to yourself that you are your illness, or that you are unsuccessful or unworthy to try something new and to push forward toward recovery and living a life that you crave and deserve essentially is a protective mechanism.
But here is the amazing truth…
The risk of being disappointed is a REQUIREMENT of moving forward.
The possibility of disappointment can also be described as uncertainty. In every action that we take there is always an inherent possibility that we will fail. And, the internal sensation of uncertainty is very uncomfortable.
Uncertainty ignites fear.
We are hard wired to be fearful — we are programmed to think that uncertainty equals death. Think back to cave people. Their environment was unpredictable, uncertain and dangerous. Therefore, our brain became programmed for fear as a protective mechanism against our uncertain and dangerous environment.
But according to Mastin, unless you are in mortal danger, fear is a compass showing you where to go.
Accepting uncertainty and stepping toward fear can lead to amazing new experiences, and taking action to move forward can bring you closer and closer to personal fulfillment and success.
But the only way to get to success is to wade through the quicksand of uncertainty, fear and the possibility of disappointment.
Moving forward and taking calculated risk is nothing but uncertain. And, uncertainty feuls fear. So, the path to success and achievement must start with the potential for disappointment. It is inescapable.
When you have a chronic illness, you go into survival mode. You go into fear and it’s so easy to get stuck there. It’s like you don’t want to hope too much because what if the results is disappointment? What if your illness continues indefinitely?
I’m here to tell you to push through the fear: hope, plan for the future, remind yourself that you are not your illness. You deserve to be healthy and to live an incredibly happy and fulfilling life. You deserve to take action and to successfully wade through uncertainty and fear only to arrive at your intended destination of abundant health, heart-thumping happiness and the realization that you are stronger than you give yourself credit for.
You are a fierce wellness warrior. Take action, and LIVE HEALTHY, LIVE HAPPY, LIVE NOW!