Words of wisdom from Greg Williams, a natural & digestive health expert specialising in Crohn's & Colitis
Defining yourself and being realistic
Are you following your passion?
Are you still following those dreams you had when you were a child…when you believed anything could be possible?
Or did you become “realistic”.
Being realistic is the most commonly travelled road to mediocrity | Will Smith
It’s not realistic for planes to fly. Or that I uploaded this article to the internet and you are reading it now. Or that you can pick up that thing that people call a phone and speak to someone hundreds of miles away.
Is it “realism” that is stopping you from taking action to turn your health around when living with IBD? Is it that someone has told you that diet, lifestyle, stress reduction, etc., can’t help to improve your health? And so it’s not realistic when someone tells you otherwise?
How about if you dream a bit bigger? And then follow those dreams?
For many IBD sufferers, this ‘realism’ is due to the fact that they have allowed themselves to become defined by their disease, and so aren’t achieving or following their true purpose in life.
WHAT DO I MEAN BY THAT?
Well…if I asked you right now “Who are you?” what would your answer be?
Go on, answer it now before reading on.
Who are you?
If your answer to that is “I’m a Crohnie” or “I’m an UC sufferer” then I would STRONGLY suggest you take some time to sit down and think about who you really are.
I’m a big believer that if you weren’t born with your chronic condition, then there is always something that can be done to drastically improve your health.
But, over time, if you have mentally defined yourself as a sufferer of IBD then taking action to change that will be in direct conflict with who you believe yourself to be at your very core.
It won’t feel right. Eventually, you will stop doing what you need to.
However, if you answered “I’m a fit, healthy, strong, caring person, who currently suffers with IBD”then the wording is very subtly different but it is life changing. In this case you are not defined by your disease. You realise it’s temporary and, therefore, once you identify opportunities to improve your health, then you will take advantage of them because it is no longer in conflict with who you are.
It’s similar with people who describe themselves as “fat”, “unconfident” or “stupid”. Until they change their definition of who they are, then they are very unlikely to become anything different, certainly for the long term. That’s why so many people who do lose weight eventually put it back on…because being a slimmer, healthier person is in complete contradiction to who they believe they are.
Tell a child, he is naughty, or will never amount to anything, and 9 times out of 10 it will continue to be true.
It even goes the other way with children where parents and teachers nowadays are told not to tell a child, he is “so clever” when he has done a good piece of work because that leads him to believe he is naturally clever and doesn’t necessarily need to work for things in the future. Instead, something such as “well done, you worked really hard for that and did a great job” is still praising the child, but enforces the belief that when they work for something they will achieve what they want.
Remember, you are not a “Crohnie” or an “IBD sufferer”. That’s not who you ARE. You are a wonderful, healthy person, who currently suffers with IBD. NEVER let your disease define you. Instead remember what dreams you really have, who you really want to be and then chase those dreams.
STOP BEING REALISTIC.
When you change who you believe you are, then your behaviour will too change to support that belief. You will act to support your identity. Even when our beliefs are destructive and negative, our actions will work to support those.
Imagine the change if a “fat person” decided to define themselves as a “health addict”. The changes would be huge…and long term. If this person is then offered junk food, they would not even consider eating it because the fact they are a “health addict” would put eating that in direct conflict with who they are.
YOUR PAST DOESN’T MATTER
A lot of how we define ourselves comes from events that have happened in the past as well as our existing environment. However, it’s so important to remember that neither of those things matter one bit. What will happen going forward does not need to be directly related to historical events unless you allow it to be. Our past doesn’t shape our future.
Imagine if you failed at a business venture in the past. Some people would take that as they aren’t meant to be a business man and would therefore stop trying to create future businesses. But almost all the world’s richest entrepreneurs have failed so many times. The difference however is each time they dusted themselves down, learnt from the experience and tried again. If they had allowed themselves to be defined as a “failure” then they would have stopped taking action and wouldn’t be where they are now.
Similarly, just because you have been quite ill in the past, that doesn’t make you an “ill person”. If you allow that definition to happen, just because that’s what happened in the past, then that will only continue to happen. You must ignore past events if they are in conflict with your desired future goal.
SO ANSWER AGAIN…
Who are you? What are your dreams? And are you truly following them?