One of the most important things you can do for your overall wellness is to think about your internalized messages. There are several components to the messages about ourselves that we take to our subconscious, and all of them deserve examining. Doing this work isn’t for the faint of heart. When we look for our unconscious messages, we’re diving into murky waters of past traumas, -isms, and even thoughts that these create about our self-worth. So before we go about this work, I tell you to be gentle with yourself. Give yourself all the support and love and grace that you’d give a loved one or a dear friend. And when you find those messages–we all have them–work slowly to overcome them. It’s not an overnight process.

The first step to discovering the unconscious messages is to be open to them. Then, one-by-one start looking at the things which may be impacting your life. For example you may have internalized ableism (thinking you’re not “sick enough” or “disabled enough” for something), fatphobia, misogyny, or messages from past traumas you experienced. Thinking about this is not for the faint of heart. It’s work that continues; it’s not an overnight process.

When a thought comes up in your mind such as “I’m not going to ask for help”, explore it. Think about what may be causing it. What happened in your past that perhaps feeds the thought? What messages come along with this thought?

Such exploration happens in bits and pieces. It’s like an onion, peeling away layer after layer until you finally reach the heart of the issue. Be patient with yourself. This work goes along with the emotional hub of the wellness wheel. It’s deep work, and it can be difficult. But it’s also very much worth it.

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