Want to stay healthy? Get close to your self

Last week I said I would talk about health and internal honour, but I want to go further than that.

Your health is strongly linked to the gap between who you believe you are and who you believe you should be. The bigger your gap, the bigger your stress, the bigger the danger to your health. This has nothing to do with what other people believe you should be.

It’s only about you.

Honour is an obvious example. Thieves have their own sense of honour. The mafia talk of respect and honour. Men who kill women for shaming the family talk about honour.  We might disagree with their definition of honour, but only a religious zealot would link a murderer’s cancer with the murder. God’s punishment? No. Instant karma? No. Many a rogue enjoys vigorous health.

Suppose you’re a woman feeling the pressure of caring for several high energy children. Every day you find yourself shouting and swearing at them. If you’re deeply stressed for doing so, you have a health problem. If not, no health problem. Notice that the childcare brings the pressure, not the stress. Stress is your response to the pressure, a very private bad-health party.

Wouldn’t a universal guide be handy? Some external, absolute standard that pegs all our behaviours to our health?

There isn’t one. But – here’s the irony – those who do believe strongly in such a standard (think of Old Testament angry god, or merciless karmic boomerangs), often fold that belief into their self-identities. Then they give that external standard power over them – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Your beliefs have more power over your life than a hurricane. They are changeable but they run many layers deep and are hard to budge. In fact the beliefs that shape our lives most powerfully are those we don’t even recognize as beliefs – they’re simply what we ‘know’ to be true.

So, if you want good health, close that gap between who you are and who you should be. I’m with the advice from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “To thine own self, be true.” Thine own self, however different that is from any other self.

Nothing is absolute. The universe is entirely subjective. We are the creators and the created. See the first universal truth.

I’ve just remembered something. In her later years, my mother often said, “There’s no such thing as should.”