Life can feel really magical when you first discover all the wonderful things this world has to offer in terms of healing the body, mind and spirit. The other great thing about being a newbie is that you are open to a whole big world of new information which can catapult you into limitless areas of learning, growth and discovery. This is all well and good, but there are a few pit falls to watch out for if you are just getting into the world of health and wellness, or if you are re-discovering it.
Here are my top 5 lessons for every newbie health nut to help you avoid some of the potential downsides that can come along with being new to the realm of health and wellness.
1. LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Often times it is best to wait to be asked for advice before offering it.
When you find something that really makes you feel amazing, heals a condition you have been dealing with, gives you over the top energy or that finally feels like “it” for you, you will most likely want to shout about it from the roof tops. It may even be tempting to look at the health of those around you and want to offer words of advice. While this is well-intentioned and coming from a place of passion within you, it is very easy for others to interpret your advice as judgement. They may feel that you are pointing out what they are doing wrong, instead of feeling that you are trying to help them. This can in turn cause them to get defensive and you to get your feelings hurt.
Even though it can be very difficult to watch those you love suffer, know that it is almost always better to allow people to come to you for advice than it is to offer it without their request. Rather than going around pointing out what your friends and family could be doing differently, just be a shining example of health and allow them to come to you when they are ready for some inspiration and education.
2. MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS: Not everyone is going to be as excited about what you have discovered as you are, and that is okay.
When you find something that really works for you, you are most likely going to be really enthusiastic about it. This is awesome! Just remember that not everyone around you is going to be experiencing what you are experiencing so it is likely that they will not necessarily share your enthusiasm.
This does not mean that your new-found health isn’t great or exciting, it just means that your experience is unique to you. Allow others to react the way they react and better yet seek out other people who are having a similar experience to yours and connect with them! There are lots of people out there who have healed themselves and found great joy in regaining health so connect with those people and share in your excitement with them.
3. DO IT FOR YOU: Your experience is valid, whether others acknowledge it or not.
There are going to be those in your life who think that what you have discovered is not as special as you think it is, or who may try to diminish your experience in some way. Remember that your experience is your experience and you do not need anyone outside of you to validate it for you. If people around you think you are wacky, that’s their prerogative. You know what your experience is and what your changes in behaviour have done for you and that is all you need. Make room for others to think what they think and move on.
4. BE INCLUSIVE: There is no “one right way” for everyone, make space for others to have their own journey.
You may have found the holy grail of health for you, but this does not necessarily mean that you have found what is going to work for everyone else. We are all at different places with regards to our health and we all need different things. There is no one perfect health solution for everyone all the time. You may have some tools that will help others, but it is best not to assume that exactly what worked for you is going to work for everyone else. Everyone must walk their own path to wellness, and it is very important to respect the paths of those around you, just as you would want them to respect your path. Let everyone around you find what works for their body.
5. BE ACCEPTING: Becoming aggressive and judgmental towards other people’s choices when they don’t align with your paradigm of health is almost guaranteed to push people away. You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.
It is all too common for people who have found a new lease on life through a dietary or other health path to become radical evangelists for their new choices. There is nothing wrong with enthusiasm and wanting to share but if you allow that to turn into an excuse to criticize those around you for what they are doing because it is not exactly what you believe is best, it will only serve to make people feel judged and attacked by you. Even if your intention is to help others, being radically for a chosen health path and equally radically against all others will most likely end up making you feel like an outsider when you are around people who don’t follow your particular protocol. This can drive a wedge in otherwise awesome social relationships. Passion is great, but unsolicited judgement or advice generally does not go over well. In other words, don’t become an angry vegan! (or an angry paleo, or an angry blood type dieter etc.) Be passionate about your cause, but do so with love and compassion in your heart, rather than anger or judgement towards other ways of life.
What are some of the lessons you have learned on your path towards optimal health?
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