The last few months have been a serious period of reflection for me and unexpected opportunities to challenge my beliefs about myself continue to arise. I was recently reading a book called “Cured: The Life‑Changing Science of Spontaneous Healing” by Jeffrey Rediger. In it, Rediger discusses four essential pillars of health: healing your immune system, healing your nutrition, healing your stress response, and healing your identity. The final pillar sparked further thought for me. I realized that I have put a significant amount of time and energy into the first three pillars, but virtually zero focus into healing my identity. In his book, Rediger says that healing the identity may be our greatest tool of recovery and that really struck a chord with me.
Over the last year or so, I have started experimenting with plant medicine. (For those who have not read about my first journey, you can do so here). I have been so drawn to it recently, and after reading Rediger’s book, I realized that I have been on a quest to heal my identity for some time now. Ever since I started experimenting with plant medicine, I have been able to get into more of an internal healing mindset, and I have begun to crave that sense of inward healing. I want to share some honest thoughts with you on the matter in case something resonates with you.
One of the recent plant journeys that I took was a challenging experience. I felt uncomfortable and out of my element throughout the entire process. I kept tuning into the dark part of my subconscious that constantly tells me that I am not good enough and that nothing I do measures up. I had a pit in my stomach and could not shake the looming feeling of dread. I was so out of sorts emotionally that it started to affect me physically. My friend, who is an incredible chef, tried to encourage me to eat some of the delicious food that she cooked for us, but everything I ate tasted like cardboard. For hours, I experienced an intense vibration. It was not the subtle calming vibration that I have experienced on other journeys. My entire body was shaking uncontrollably for hours.
I finally had a thought: was this how I lived every day? In a state of perpetual intense vibrational energy? I had an abrupt realization that the emotional state I am constantly living in was simply manifesting itself outwards to a physical experience of powerful vibration. Upon further reflection, I understood that part of the reason why I am constantly in a high energetic state is because of the cognitive dissonance that I put myself through. I show the world one side of me: the side that is always promoting self-love, acceptance, and serenity on social media. But there is another side of me that is constantly anxious, worrying about meeting the expectations of the world (and my own expectations, too). Because I have done years of work, I know that this side of me stems from experiences from my past. There are messages that you pick up in your childhood, carry with you, and internalize as your core sense of being.
Beyond the identity that was created for me when I was younger, the different turning points in my life have also formed my current sense of self. When I was sick, being a cancer patient became my identity. Later in life, I dug myself into the hole of my own healthy and happy identity. I was so obsessed with overcoming my sick person identity, that I committed to this new perfectly content and healthy identity. I left no room in my sense of self for the to-be-expected bad days and imperfections. Now I struggle with imposter syndrome and am learning to accept the fact that I have some qualities that are not always positive, and that is okay.
I know that I am not alone in this. So many of us live in this heightened state of vibrational energy that is not healthy. Prior to sitting down and writing out these ideas, I thought, “how can I even share these concepts with other people? They are so negative and open-ended.” But I think that sharing these challenges is crucial for all of us. It is important for me to be vulnerable about my experiences and it is critical for you to know that not everything is always as it seems and there is always time to start healing your identity. I now understand that reclaiming your deepest character and purpose is super challenging and a constant work in progress. And I hate to admit this, but it might be something that I never fully heal.
I am at the point of my path towards identity healing where I understand that my identity is multidimensional and ever-evolving. That realization alone has bestowed on me a great sense of freedom and lightness. I believe in my heart of hearts that when you heal your identity, you can heal from anything – mental or physical. Whatever messages we are telling ourselves really hold us back from true spontaneous remissions and overcoming terminal diagnoses. When people introspect and ease their internal conflicts, they can manifest their own medical recoveries against all odds because they are aligning their beliefs. It is one thing to give your body healthy food, but if you are not giving your mind the message that you can heal, your journey towards recovery is not as effective as it could be.
In order to pursue my journey towards healing my identity, I am constantly talking to myself about it. I have developed a few mantras that are working:
- I am loved and love is all I need. When I say this mantra, it gets me back into my body and my heart. It is powerful. Loving yourself is hugely powerful.
- I am enough and I have enough. This one is sacred for me. On the outside, I look like I am enough, but I rarely feel it on the inside. And I know that many others walk around feeling this way as well.
I know that I am not leaving you with a solution or even a satisfying end to this story. Rather, I am raising a train of thought that I hope resonates with you in some way. Perhaps it sparks some questions for you about how your identity may not be as healthy as it has the potential to be. Maybe this serves as a reminder to go deeper into yourself and explore the injured areas that need to be nurtured. I hope you walk away from this with the understanding that even though it may be uncomfortable to visit those questionable parts of who you are, doing so may heal you in more ways than you realize.