It’s been 7 days since I started this blog and this journey back to feeling like myself again (but even better). I’ve made a lot of progress already but it’s been a long time coming. It’s kind of like quitting smoking or kicking some other bad habit or developing a healthy habit. You think about doing it long before you actually do because every time you think about starting the process you become overwhelmed by the logistics of it. How am I going to quit? What if I can’t do it? I’m afraid of the withdrawal symptoms and on. The resistance to taking that first step toward change seems to disappear after some kind of inciting incident, like hitting your own personal rock bottom. It’s as if change can’t occur without some catalyst.
Anytime I’ve made a change, there’s been a catalyst but it also felt like magic when I was able to make the change. But when I reflect back on any changes I’ve made in my life whether it be breaking a bad habit or developing a healthy one, it always began with changing a thought or multiple thoughts and reinforcing those new thoughts until they became an innate part of my thinking. Just like smoking, once I decided to stop, all I had to do was maintain new thoughts around smoking that kept me from starting up again.
Complete readiness for me to make the final changes I want relating to how I feel about myself as a person with chronic illness came about 7 days ago and led to me starting this blog. I hit my own rock bottom. I got to a place where I stopped feeling like myself and was constantly struggling with my self-esteem. I simply couldn’t go on the way I was. It brought me far too much misery, and I’m fundamentally not a miserable person.
7 days ago I made a commitment to change the negative beliefs I have about myself as someone who is chronically ill.
I won’t get into specific beliefs. I will say that when I wrote down common beliefs that often preceded me feeling bad and read them back to myself, I simply found them hard to believe. Obviously they’ll still pop up for the next little while; however, they’re losing intensity every time I challenge them.
What I want to make clear is that this isn’t about positive thinking. I’m not just replacing my negative core beliefs with random positive thoughts or affirmations. I’m digging deep and acknowledging why I’m hold on to a negative belief and then assess if there’s really any truth to it. It’s about finding out the actual reality that challenges the validity of my negative beliefs.
So although I did a lot this week to feel better about myself such as exercising daily, eating well, meditation, learning new things, connecting with people and friends, engaging in hobbies, etc., the thing that allowed all those other things to be possible is challening harmful core beliefs about myself as an “chronically ill” person.
Here are some relevant links to check out if you’d like to explore more about changing core beliefs:
Changing core beliefs: This site has worksheets to help challenge and change core beliefs
To Change Your Life, Change Your Core Beliefs