You Are Not Your Diagnosis…

Dr. Bernie Siegel said “A diagnosis is just an opinion.” But it is so easy to take on a label; my Irritable Bowel Syndrome, my arthritic knees, my breast cancer… When is a diagnosis helpful information, and when does it take over our identity?

When I first began working with people preparing for breast cancer surgery many years ago, I realized that it is all about re-framing. How we take a potentially traumatic, invasive process and re-frame it into a healing ritual. So how can we take a diagnosis, a label that defines one aspect of our current or past reality and re-frame it into something that empowers us, that opens us to new possibilities?

It begins with being present, with where you are right now, at this moment, in this body. With moving away from judgment, from “healthy means good, sick means bad.” With not giving our power to the words and moving beyond the limitations of the labels.

It is not always an easy process; our culture is very attached to labels, and takes a medical or psychiatric diagnosis very seriously. And so we can fall victim to what Bernie Siegel so aptly calls, “the medical hex.” You have six months to live, becomes an unconscious directive to give up and die in six months. You will have heart disease, or chronic back pain or lose your eyesight engenders a powerlessness that can paralyze you. You have an anxiety disorder is enough to put you into a constant state of anxiety – robbing you of the sense of possibility that is our birthright.

What is your diagnosis – either medically decreed or self-diagnosed? What are the labels, the restrictions that you could release and find greater empowerment, optimism and freedom?

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