Human nature can be contradictory when it comes to health and healing. Often, there is a discrepancy between the values we aspire to and the standards by which we actually live. Many of us seem to have an uncanny ability to overlook some aspect of our life that is unhealthy. It is as if a veil comes down over our consciousness and muffles the wholesome inner voice that says: “No! This is unhealthy! Stop!”
Instead, a short circuit occurs and the negative behavior is engaged again. The good news is this: we have choices in life. Patterns of denial can be changed, and a more congruent, healthy lifestyle can be lived.
Usually, there is an underlying reason why an unhealthy practice is continued even when a person “knows better.” When the root of the problem is revealed and addressed, then there is hope that a healthy lifestyle can be achieved. Perhaps a few examples will demonstrate my point. I know a heart surgeon who tells all of his patients that smoking, red meat and alcohol are detrimental to the heart. He recommends that his patients moderate or refrain from these three things. In his private life, this respected surgeon eats steaks, smokes cigars, and drinks wine regularly.
Another example is a health-conscious friend of mine who is fanatically vegan. Every day he smokes pot and says it is healthy because it is natural. Another friend regularly practices juicing and fasting for optimum health, and then binges on carbs, fats and sugars in between. All three individuals believe in the value of a healthy lifestyle, and like many of us, the healthy values are incongruent with the unhealthy habits.
I can relate to these inconsistencies because I recently changed a similar denial pattern in my own life. Although I know sleep is a valuable part of a healthy lifestyle, I often resisted going to bed before midnight, even though I wake up by 5:00 a.m. most days. After a couple of friends told me that they were concerned about my lack of sleep, I had to admit that it was having some negative consequences in my life. I was willing to look at the underlying issues.
I discovered three beliefs that I had been denying to myself: 1) I don’t like to sleep alone; 2) My body is aging and requires more sleep than in previous years; 3) Sleep is important for rejuvenation. What issues are underlying my denial? First, I’m an identical twin and don’t like to be alone. Second, although I feel 36 inside, I am in my 50s. And third, lost sleep cannot be recaptured.
Was I willing to release the grip that these unhealthy patterns and beliefs had over me? Yes, I was. Through rebirthing sessions, hypnotherapy, and a conscious effort to change my sleep habits, I now get to bed earlier. I’ve learned that I’m okay by myself, that sleep is helpful for my older body, and that I can value a good night’s rest. I now have more energy during the day, my thinking is clearer, and my immune system is stronger.
Perhaps you can identify an unhealthy pattern in your own life. If you are not sure, check with a trusted friend. Hope begins when the veil of denial is lifted. You can enjoy the gift of a vital, healthy life!