Change Your Inner Narrative and Improve Your Health!

Dr. Michelle Kmiec

For most of us, it is very difficult to refrain from making assumptions. Every day we make hundreds of assumptions based on past experiences and other people’s opinions and ideas. In other words, too often our thoughts and actions are based on opinions of what others believe we should expect in certain situations or from various people, and then instead of coming to our own conclusions about situations or individuals, we accept, or “keep in mind,” the opinions of others which are based on their experiences. Moreover, their experiences are based on their personal interpretations of various life events. Whether or not they had preexisting assumptions is also something to take into account.

Assumptions and Health Consider also that assumptions always coincide with some type of emotion. If they didn’t, then we wouldn’t give assumptions so much weight in our decision making process.

When I recognized the number of assumptions that I was making each day, it occurred to me that I was even making assumptions about myself – unknowingly. Assumptions about whether or not I would like a certain place, food, or even an upcoming event. I had preconceived ideas about almost everything! And this contributed greatly to my inability to find balance in my life.

So where did all of these colored ideas come from? Did they come from inside my own mind? Possibly. Perhaps some were rooted in past interactions with family, friends, teachers, and other influential people who chose to share with me.  And let’s not forget about the impact of news and feature stories glorified by the media.

Most of the time people offer their opinions (assumptions) because they want to help you. But it is important that when you file away the opinions of others you add a little footnote reminding yourself that these impressions are attached to the messenger’s perceived interpretation of their experience.  If you cannot do this, you may be selling yourself short when experiencing things for yourself.

Is it possible that assumptions can also have an effect on the state of your health? I have come in contact with too many people who expect to face various adverse health conditions simply because they have reached a certain age.  For some that age may be 40 or 50, and sadly for some it may be even younger.

But where do these expectations come from?  Is it true that after a certain age our health will decline? Of course not!  But too many people base their personal truths on assumptions that at a certain age you will have pain in your body, your eyesight will diminish, you will gain weight, become weak, susceptible to more illnesses and diseases, have to slow down, and likely will be required to succumb to pharmaceuticals.

Where do these expectations come from?  And who told us they were absolute truths? These assumptions are largely based on observation. But does observation alone make something true?

Consider this scenario:

Medical Assumptions and HealthYour doctor diagnoses you with cancer and tells you that there is no treatment that can save you. You are told that you have only a certain amount of time left to live. You say, “Well doctor, I have heard about some holistic treatments that claim to be effective and I am wondering if I should try one of those?” And the doctor responds, “don’t waste your time and money because these therapies don’t work and could even be dangerous to your already compromised health.”

This type of exchange happens all too often, and personally if my prognosis were death, I would try any holistic treatment, dangerous or not. Wouldn’t you?

Furthermore, 99.9% of the time these therapies are not nearly as dangerous as most pharmaceutical treatments that are prescribed.

More importantly, isn’t a prognosis of death really an assumption?

I know many people who have gone on to live for years, even decades after being told to put their affairs in order! Is it possible that they beat the odds because they chose not to accept as fact their doctor’s assumption that their days were limited?

I chose not to believe the “fact” that MS was incurable, and instead chose to believe that I could cure myself.

And I am not alone.

There are many others who have done the same thing. And sadly, those of us who have regained our health via natural treatments are often ridiculed.  I have even been labeled a criminal for sharing my story about holistic healing and for promoting healthy holistic options as viable alternatives to conventional medicine. What assumptions are these people making about me? And others like me…you perhaps? Would these people be happier if we were sick? Why?

The truth is, what is thought to be a “fact” today may very well be viewed in a different light tomorrow when new information has been collected. It happens all the time because there is always more to be learned.

Assumptions derived from words directed at us can also have an effect on our health.  Consider this. You are constantly criticized and put down by a family member, partner or long time friend, and these daily comments eventually lead to the assumption that you truly are not good enough and that you really “can’t do anything right.”   Numerous studies have shown a correlation between emotional stress and the onset of autoimmune disease.

This is really not surprising when you think about it.

In response to the words of others, you have made the assumption that you are not good enough, not worthy of being  loved, and this assumption then becomes your belief. Once this occurs, your body reacts to that belief by attacking itself.  

Assumption and HealthYour health can also be compromised when you are constantly hearing words of praise. Perhaps you are someone who in everyone’s eyes is simply perfect.  You eat the right foods, are athletic, have a great job and your smile is contagious. Every day you are told how amazing you are, and so you come to believe that, well, you are amazing in every way! But in reality we are all human, and all humans possess weaknesses. And one day your groupies see the human side of you, and immediately take you off of the pedestal reserved for only those who are flawless. Now that you are no longer celebrated on a daily basis, what happens to your self-esteem?

Well if your self-esteem was solely fed by the assumptions of others, then no doubt it will go down. And when your self-esteem plummets, you begin to question everything about yourself.

How might this affect your health?

Assumptions can additionally be rooted in our own past experiences, both good and bad, as well as cultural and religious beliefs forced upon us from an early age. We develop certain standards and assume that everyone else has adopted the same ones. Stereotyping is one of the biggest contributors to assumptions, and once thought patterns are deep in your psyche it is hard to change them.

So what more lies beneath the assumptions you make on a daily basis? How could life be different if you learned to distinguish between fact and assumption?

I am betting a lot less stress and definitely a more balanced life!

But to stop allowing assumptions to enter your everyday thoughts is certainly easier said than done. In order to do this, you must have the desire to change and the discipline to make it happen.