Recently my gut has not been happy.
By recent I mean things haven't been quite right the past year, but the last few months I've been in a LOT more pain and discomfort. I tried to "fix" things myself - eliminating different foods, taking supplements, trying this and that healing diet, meditating more, doing more yoga - but nothing seemed to help. At all.
Which left me feeling frustrated, annoyed that I couldn't figure this out myself and honestly pretty angry at my body. Here I was eating so much healthier and being so much more careful with what I consumed than so many people, yet I was still in so much pain.
So I finally asked for help.
I went to see a GI and he's been sorta helpful. He ran some tests and suggested I give the low FODMAP diet a serious try, which I've been doing with some success.
But the best (and most surprising) advice I received around my current gut stuff came from Robyn.
We work together closely so she's seen me going through all of this.
After a particularly bad week I lamented TO HER:
"I'm tired of having to care about every little thing I eat. I'm tired of being more sensitive than everyone else. I just want to be normal."
"You ARE normal Emily.
There's just this one piece of you that needs a little extra care and attention right now."
She went on to suggest that I think of this piece of me (my gut!) like a baby and that I (the rest of me) needed to care for, protect and love this piece of me like a mother fiercely cares for, protects and loves her child.
This simple advice totally shifted my perspective.
First, I realized I was blowing things out of proportion.
Yes, my gut has been unhappy but my energy, my sleep, my skin, my mood and so much more have been good (for the most part). I'm not totally broken, there's just one piece of me that needs some extra support right now.
Second, it gave me a new way to look at my gut and how I needed to take care of it.
How does a mother treat a crying newborn baby? Well most often she tries to soothe the baby and would do anything in her power to find out what her baby needs to stop crying - out of fierce love, not just to quiet the cries (although I haven't been a parent and can guess that sometimes you do just want to quiet the cries...but that's not the point here).
Instead of being angry at my digestive system and avoiding certain foods as punishment, I'm looking at my gut like a little baby that I need to care for, love and protect like a mother would CARE FOR A SICK OR HURT child.
This shift has been profound for me.
Part of being an adult is learning to "grow up" - most of us are taught that we should get a job, pay our bills and be a law-abiding citizen, but there's more. Emotionally we must learn to take care of ourselves from a deep sense of self love. How (I assume) a mother or father feels for a new born baby. Unwavering, unapologetic, protective.
No matter how many loving parents, grandparents, siblings, partners, friends you have in your life, YOU must be your own best caretaker.
You must learn how to nurture, soothe and protect yourself, both physically and emotionally.
At 30 years old, even after a wonderful childhood and years of personal development, this is something I'm just learning. While there are still days where I feel frustrated with my gut for being bloated after one bite of gluten or having a stomachache so painful all I can do is curl up in a ball on my bed, I'm grateful for the piece of me for ultimately being my biggest teacher.
Is there an area of your life or health that could use some unconditional love? A piece of you that maybe, like me and my gut, has been a point of prolonged pain, discomfort or chronic illness?
How can show that piece of you more care and love? Instead of judging, shaming and trying to fix yourself, how can you be your own best parent and nurture yourself?
<3 <3 <3