I’ve always told my students that they are not allowed to use the word “can’t” in my classroom. Usually I hear “I can’t do it” or “I can’t figure it out” when a student hasn’t read the directions properly or wasn’t listening to instructions the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time. Sometimes it’s a just computer issue. Either way, I’m there to solve it! I’ve seen many kids with low self esteem over the years and somewhere along the way, they began to believe that they really couldn’t do it! It’s really sad. But it’s my job to eliminate “I can’t” from their vocabulary and instead replace it with “I need help, I don’t understand something…” ect.
So how does this relate to adults and fibromyalgia? Well, over the past 10 or so years, my body has changed a lot. And I found myself in more pain, with less strength, and a tendency to injure myself easily, among other things. I also lost a lot of weight very quickly around 2013 which may have been tied to anxiety and trauma. (Fibromyalgia is often linked to trauma. See my post about Lady Gaga.) My issues definitely got worse from there. So in 2016, when I was at a crossroads with yoga, I chose to quit.
It could have possibly been diet related at the time, but I kept pulling my hamstrings. I’d been practicing Bikram Yoga for many years and I considered myself to be very strong because of it, but something was wrong and I was often in a lot of pain. I realize now that I shouldn’t have let my emotions rule the situation. Or let the pain win. Obviously, something needed to change. But there are many different types of yoga and I could have started practicing at home and found something that worked for me at the time.
When I started practicing yoga again in March of this year, I felt like I was starting completely from scratch. Those toned, strong legs that I’d always been proud of had turned into mush over the years. But it turns out that there were muscles just waiting to be used and my flexibility has slowly improved! It’s all about patience and the nice thing about practicing at home is that you aren’t comparing yourself to others. I’ve always had a bad habit of doing that!
I’ve read some good books and articles on positive thinking. If you are an empath or a “highly sensitive person” like I am, you may benefit from Dave Markowitz’s book “Self-Care from the Self-Aware: A Guide for Highly Sensitive People, Empaths, Intuitives, and Healers.” This is deep stuff. My therapist also touched on the idea of retraining our minds. It’s a lot of work! And it can take years, but if you can change your way of thinking, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities!
Also, I follow #75Hard posts on Instagram and I started following Behavior Hack. Many of the images on this post are from their site.
If you can shift your focus to what you “can do” instead of what you “can’t do” it will help immensely. There are a lot of things I “should not” do anymore because they no longer have a positive effect on my body. I have to be careful not to overdo it with anything. It is SO frustrating to be young but feel so old at times! If I push myself too hard while exercising or working in the yard, I could end up paying for it for many days. The last thing I want is for my progress to get set back any further. Instead, I have to be patient with my body and focus on making small strides every day.
Patience has never come easily for me. It’s easier for me to be patient with a student then it is for me to be patient with myself. But now that I have embarked on a life-long practice of healthy living, I am more committed than ever!
Even if something seems impossible right now – like the idea of me ever doing a successful Standing Bow – focus on what you can do! Make a list every day of what you accomplished. What are you proud of?
At the beginning of this year, I decided to adopt an “Attitude of Gratitude” again. Many years back, I read the book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sara Ban Breathnach and it made a huge impact. For many years, I would refer to this book regularly and keep a journal for my daily reflections. She really taught me what it meant to have an Attitude of Gratitude. Unfortunately, I found myself deep in negative thoughts once again and I was dealing with some issues at work. So before I’d even heard of Covid-19, I’d already made up my mind to face every day with a positive outlook and I began writing down one thing every morning that I was grateful for. Easy enough. And it’s made a huge difference. Things got pretty crazy starting in March and change is happening all over our world. But gratitude and mental toughness will go a long way when it comes to navigating each day. 😉