“[In society,] the virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.
Whoso would be a man [or woman], must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
In this season of tricks and treats, there is a need for discussion on self-detecting truths. Self-reliance promotes this capacity to decipher false “realities” and remove unconstructive customs, such as trusting our moods or turning to others as an anchor. Friends and family can help buoy us, but we need to foster an internal strength that can anchor us. One way we can do this for ourselves is just as Emerson suggests: “explore if it be goodness.” We can discern if our beliefs or behaviors are working for or against us.
I’ve seen it helpful to give a physical texture to my intangible thoughts. When I do, I can better tell whether or not something I’ve believed is real or fake, a threat or a mirage, a solution or a placebo. Some ways that have worked for me are writing, scanning where I’m tense in my body, or thinking of my circumstances metaphorically in a physical context. Once after a break up, an uplifting image came to mind: I’d envisioned how my impatient hope to heal was like rushing through a drive thru and that I needed to take time to fill up at a banquet with nourishing company.
As we strive to evaluate our thoughts in a physical way, we’re better able to “explore if it be goodness.” Then, as opposed to letting our moods yank us around or being dependent on others to or lift us up, we can harness our own innate “trick-detector”.
With my patients, I go over their medications they’ve had and discuss how they’ve been doing on new supplements I’m recommending to them. If we examine our coping mechanisms or self-talk like we inspect how we’re doing on a new health protocol, we may be able to better gauge whether our processing is working for us or not. In the office, we’re usually going through questions like, “is this pill causing diarrhea, lethargy, or heart palpitations?” or alleviating symptoms and sources of issues. Similarly, we can ask ourselves questions about a thought we’ve latched on to: Is this thought making me explode, draining me, or giving me heartache? Or is it soothing me, exciting me, or uplifting my heart?
No Tricks, Only Treats Challenge:
- Make it easier for yourself to process your thoughts or circumstances by giving them a physical element: writing, a metaphorical context, or stating your thoughts. Just voicing how you feel may help you to categorize what’s true and what’s not.
- Ask yourself, is this belief or behavior bringing me goodness? Is it making me more symptomatic or helping me toward healing?
- When you’ve done this, celebrate your step in growth as more emotionally self-reliant!