Self-care: learning to forgive

Posted by jennifer gibson on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 Under: july 2016

I recently discovered an intriguing book by Doreen Virtue on how to heal ourselves and break free of negativity. Even though Doreen is famous for her spiritual topics, this is more geared towards the physiological and psychological aspects of detoxing our minds and bodies. The goal is to find ways of healing ourselves from the inside out and make a positive change in our lives.

What caught my eye about this book was the title “Don’t Let Anything Dull Your Sparkle” - it made me wonder how I could improve my life and what changes I should make for myself. I knew that the time was right, that I needed to pick up this book. For some time now, I’ve felt stuck and really wanted to move forward and didn’t know how or why this was happening. I turned to Doreen’s “Sparkle” book and was pleasantly surprised by her remarks. The biggest revelation was that we have been affected by trauma and stress on a daily basis and it’s overloading our bodies. Apparently we are also addicted to histamine. When I initially read this part, I had to look again to make sure that is what it said. To me, the trauma aspect made perfect sense since I was bullied and ostracized for years due to my disability and that stills affects me to this day.

Doreen does state that the trauma we are exposed to does not have to be due to extreme circumstances such as car accidents, victims of a crime or natural disaster, being in the military. She goes on to say that trauma can stem from other sources such as abusive relationships, losing your job or home, divorce, death, surgery, moving or death of a loved one (including pets) - trauma comes from anything makes us feel unsafe or helpless. The more traumas we go through, the more anxious we become. It can become chronic which essentially reduces our sense of happiness. Over time we can become hypersensitive to it which makes us react even more easily or stronger to it. This is where histamine comes into play, when we are constantly anxious, waiting for the next trauma, we get more stressed out which in turns causes hypervigilance. It’s a post traumatic symptom that produces too much histamine.

I already have allergies and used to being more sensitive to certain surroundings or products, so I was very surprised to learn that stress or trauma could also increase my histamine levels (allergic reaction). In essence, our bodies are already being bombarded with pollution, pollen, toxins at home or work, carpet fumes, paint fumes, even laundry detergents, cleaning supplies, plastics with BPA, clothing dyes, cosmetics, etc… Adding on food that is high in histamine can make everything worse and send our allergic reactions sky-high. Doreen does provide a list of food to avoid eating that are high in histamines, including additives, aged meat, red wine, cheese, sulphites, genetically modified food, and yeast. She encourages us to consider switching to more organic and healthier food, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh wild-caught fish and fresh grass-fed meat or poultry.

Apparently comfort food are high in histamines which causes us to binge-eat them. This creates a cycle of eating the wrong food that makes us feel worse. Our bodies crave the chemical reaction it causes, much the same way we react to trauma. Essentially, it’s a hunger for happiness. Now, I thought that this was interesting since I was already being careful with my diet which meant that there was room for improvement in other aspects such as looking inwards. I loved how she said that we need to see ourselves as a plant that needs nutrients, water, sunshine and loving care. To do this, we would be required to make a shift away from stressful situations including negative and manipulative people, depressant chemicals such as alcohol, and anything that makes us upset or worried such as watching the news or dark/violent movies, or even playing violent video games. Too much drama creates an overload on our bodies. Instead, she recommends us to focus on journaling, doing yoga, going for a nature walk, cuddling with a pet, or doing something creative or artistic.

She does mention that we should be aware of our triggers, particularly anything that reminds us of a past trauma, including something that you see, smell or hear. It could also be an emotional trigger such as how we felt during the trauma such as sadness, anger or loneliness. This can create an endless loop of thinking about the trauma and wishing that it didn’t happen which turns into a form of self-punishment which is unhealthy and harmful to us. Focusing on the past can’t undo it. We should be paying more attention to the present and future in a more positive manner.

By making the decision to move forward is already creating a positive outcome. It’s about recognizing certain traits in ourselves that can create too much drama, stress or trauma. For some people, social-rejection is a big trigger, even if it's happening in a movie since loneliness is harmful to us physically and emotionally. One way to overcome this is to adopt a pet since hugging and petting increases oxytocin levels which is an emotionally healing chemical that lessens the feeling of loneliness.

Another part of self-care is choosing who you spend your time with and avoiding others that break their promises, treats other people disrespectfully or constantly puts them down, brags about breaking the law, constantly expresses anger about a wide variety of issues, or only contacts you when they want something you, boasts about being a victim, or gossips about other people. This is dark, manipulative behaviour that has a negative impact on our lives. It’s better to find people who are caring, open-minded, respectful, and kind to others.

Not only are we trying to feel safe; we are also trying to feel loved. It starts with finding love within us and being kind to ourselves. This may sound cheesy but I appreciated how Doreen recommended that we take good care of our body, rest when we need to, have fun, give ourselves gifts, offer sincere compliments and spend our time in meaningful ways. Feeling better about ourselves also increases our self-confidence.

The overall message in her book was that all of us have the ability to rise above problems. Essentially, we can choose fly high above any drama in our lives. We can make that conscious effort to keep a clear mind and heart. I enjoyed seeing things from a new perspective and learning how to deal with trauma and drama as well as the different personalities that can effect us. She encourages us to think of ourselves like a candle that brings warmth and light every situation. By learning to open our heart and love ourselves, it gives us the healing energy that we need and be free to sparkle.

In : july 2016 

Tags: "doreen virtue" "don't let anything dull your sparkle" "hope" "love yourself" healing "self-confidence" 
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