I believe that you can talk as long, as much and to as many people as you want, but the most important conversation will still be the one that you have with yourself. And, this is because, you will always be what you tell yourself as an individual, as a group and even as an establishment. Haven’t you seen organisations establishing vision and mission statements long before they establish anything else? They want to tell themselves, what they want to be and that’s what they become. Roman slave and Stoic philosopher, Epictetus once said, “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” He was right.
It was somewhere around this time, last year that I was bed ridden and immobile, truly and completely immobile. I looked, and even felt like a log of wood. I could not walk, could not sit and could not stand. Now, it sounds unbelievable but the fact is that I could not even roll over. The only possible position I could maintain was on my stomach, my head supported on my elbows, quite like a reptile, probably a chameleon. So I remained propped uncomfortably in that undignified position 24/7 for a few months. It felt like a lifetime though, watching the world pass me by. Days turned in to nights and nights turned in to days but my plight remained the same. Friends and relatives visited, called in with good wishes and my children returned each day from school with fake cheerfulness…….they wanted to keep a brave front. A few more days passed. Tests after tests proved futile and no steady diagnosis presented itself. And while my elbows decided to turn angry, indignant purple with my constant weight, my life decided to turn in to a shade of grey, grey with doubts, grey with pain and then grey, simply because I had not seen the outside world in a long time.
‘What if I end up spending my life as an invalid? What if I am never able to move again? What will happen to my kids? How will my husband manage?’ I thought it all and I hated it all. That’s when I remembered the voice within or rather the voice remembered me, for through that dull, seemingly impenetrable grey, my saviour appeared, faithful, smiling and bright. We exchanged pleasantries. She had my name, my face but there was a difference she was stronger. Soon, we had long chats and made promises to each other. We made a list of things to do when I get better. Not if, but when I get better. One of the first on that list was to take a flight to meet my mother. The steady conversations and the bright list cheered me immensely and my health ordeal that had started out as a nightmare, soon flipped over and then became one of the most enriching experiences of my life. What followed was beautiful, as beautiful as a fresh bunch of flowers a visitor had left for me. There were lessons learned, strengths discovered and dreams polished. I got to know myself better than I ever had, spoke to myself like I never did and then made an astonishing recovery. I sat up, wobbled, hobbled and then walked. I actually walked! That was last year, somewhere around this time.
Now I am recovered and laugh about it. I retell my story to friends. Sometimes, I attribute my recovery to traditional Chinese medicines, sometime to physiotherapy and sometimes to an osteopath, but the fact remains that it all started when I told myself, “Ok, this is where I start getting better”. And that’s what happened. Today, I am grateful to all the people who remained steadfast and supportive, but the one I am the most grateful to, is the saviour, my inner voice, who turned my life around. I am so glad that I had those conversations. So, do I still have them? Of course, I do! Now when I walk through the parks, run to catch the bus and pirouette to music, my friend, the inner voice smiles. “I told you so’, it says. ‘I believe you’, say I, and our conversation continues.
As I was telling you, the most important conversation is still the one that you have with yourself, it’s what you tell yourself and it’s what you believe. Self efficacy is maintained by an internal dialogue that needs to be nurtured, listened to and respected. Don’t give it up….ever. That inner voice is a friend, a guide and if necessary, a saviour. I know it through my experience, that it’s not as much in what others tell you, the power is mostly in what you tell yourself. And, in case you are wondering……I did take that flight to see my mum!!
My previous update,
Reading list- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.
Movie- Les Misérables
On the discussion table- Benefits of an egalitarian society
Concerned about- Loss of compassion