Written by Casey Hersch, MSW, LCSW
The problem with comparing yourself to others
I have seen a lot of healers, participated, explored, learned about a lot of healing approaches. One common theme throughout my experiences with healing modalities was that each physician/healer thoroughly believed in what they did and also believed that their treatment would be the cure for my medical woes. While this attitude surely creates a lot of optimism and fosters hope, what happens to the patient if this is not realized. For most of my life, I have struggled with the "why me" attitude. Why am I so complex? Why do I fully commit to protocols that many people don't consider trying, and I still have problems? Why do I keep getting infections? Why do I still have allergies?
Each time I participated in a new healing modality, the healer would share with me his/her success stories. This is positive: Don't we want to know something has positive outcomes before we try it? Hearing about other's successes is invigorating and fosters hope. However, over time, I started to compare myself to others. I found myself saying, "I did the same protocol and I am not cured." I started to become a victim with the "why me" attitude. I was genuinely happy that others were having incredible results, and I knew their healing was real. But I was struggling, and when I didn't have the same life-changing results, I felt more flawed, more broken, less deserving. Each treatment I experienced, I hoped that it would be "the one"-- the one treatment that would put an end to Crohn's disease and autoimmunity. Each time, it was not "THE ONE," I felt defeated
I realized after much introspection that this attitude was not helping my condition. This attitude was in fact harmful. I was not being thankful to my body for all of the treatments it had endured, for all of the painfully slow and excruciating protocols I asked it to comply with. I failed to notice the monumental progress that I had already made towards a better quality of life. I also was not giving myself and my body credit for MY OWN PROCESS. You cannot put your body on a timeline and think that it will be so. Just because others have undergone a certain procedure and had a certain result, does not mean that your body or anyone else's body will do the same. The reason is that EVERY human body is different and within the human body are each person's life experiences, personality, traumas, joys, purpose in life, and their uniqueness. Each body is layered and layered with life that is not the same as another person's life and each person has his/her own lessons that are to be learned in life. Much of this learning results from health issues and adversity.
This is the fundamental importance of the HEALING WHEEL. Each person must make their own healing wheel and insert their own ingredients. No one's healing wheel is the same.
Over time, I shifted my attitude from the why me? to WHY NOT!?!? What makes me think that I should heal in one or two treatments ? Why should I be so attached to the outcome? It is normal to be attached to the outcome--we want to get better--but this prevented me from seeing the process unfold, from recognizing the signs along the say, from noticing the minute details that my body gives when it starts or finishes something. The more I lost sight of the ongoing process of healing and the lessons and messages along the way, the more stress I felt. I had placed my body on an impossible timeline and until my body was ready to heal in its own way, I was getting in the way of myself. Adding to my stress was comparing myself to others and their healing timelines. This only made me feel worse and placed me in an adversarial role with my body, which is not helpful to anyone concerned.
While I continued to value stories about patients who had healed, I placed less emphasis on this information. My story would be its own. I started telling my healers that I am grateful that so many people are getting better, but I want to focus on what "my body needs from me" and how to be patient with my own process. Just because something does not work the first time, especially in alternative medicine, does not mean that it is not working. I started taking on the attitude of healing from the inside out and oftentimes when you think of the body as layer upon layer of physical, emotional, and spiritual, you realize that each layer, involves another layer, and another. The body needs to go through these layers: Some people may have less or more layers to work through. It does not mean healing is not happening, it just means it is happening at your body's own pace. What this did for me was take me out of the stress and performance part of my illness and make me feel more in cooperation with my body. Each treatment that I did became part of a larger process and a bigger picture towards healing, with new lessons to learn, new discoveries, and each message giving me new information for the next step. Instead of thinking that this would be the session that would end this cycle of medical conditions, each session became a session of appreciation for my body and how hard it is working to heal me from the inside out.
Today as I try new healing modalities I don't focus on whether or not it will cure me. If it does, great, if it doesn't, I can trust that it is one piece of a larger puzzle that completes one part of my healing before I move onto the next. The body will fully heal when it is ready. The more you try to "shove" it along, the slower the process becomes and the harder it is to keep your spirits up.