For example: road systems that were paved in the 50’s were suitable for the overall amount of cars on the roads at that time. Since then, the amount of cars on the road has considerably grown. These roads became inadequate to say the least to deal with the growing amount of cars on the road. Imagine what transportation today would be like if we were driving roads that were planned and paved in the 50’s.
As the amount of cars gradually grew, the roads became more and more congested. Eventually it became clear that something had to be done or we would all go out for work one day and be literally stuck in a mass traffic jam. That’s quite a significant state of chaos.
The only way to resolve this mass congestion was to upgrade the road system. All over the world, new roads were paved, existing roads were re-done and intersections were added so that the roads could hold the growing number of cars. The entire road system changed its form and level of functioning.
All types of change are born out of chaos. Unfortunately, if there’s anything most of us don’t like is chaos.
There is essentially no difference in the fundamental process between situations in which change is considered positive or in other words “for the better” and situations where change is considered negative or “for the worse”.
It has been demonstrated in research that the fear of change is greater than the fear of dealing with what exists, no matter how unpleasant and dangerous the existing situation may be. Most of us will prefer the known over the unknown every time.
People stay in redundant and uninspiring jobs, in unhealthy relationships, in inappropriate living arrangements and in many other situations that by definition undermine their well-being only in order to avoid change.
People with chronic disease are used to their disease and tend to hang on to it, even if they do so unconsciously, because it’s familiar. They are familiar with the limitations it introduces and usually create a system of compromises that allow them to get around these limitations. If the disease were to go away, they would need to change all the related habits they acquired and once again the comfort of the familiar would be jeopardized.
Example: a 45 year old woman came for healing. Her life story was full of abuse, depression and a variety of dysfunctional behaviors which made her everyday life unbearable. She was literally incapable of holding a job or any type of relationship and most of all she was miserable.
Every time there was significant improvement in her overall condition she sabotaged it claiming that she can’t be different because she didn’t know how to be different. She was afraid of what her life would be like as a healthy person. She also feared the regret she thought she would feel for having spent most of her life in a daze. It took many months of little advancements and huge relapses until she dared to try and experience a new state of being.
The Underlying Benefits of Disease
Another important aspect is that disease is a source and justification for many secondary benefits. . Disease benefits are not necessarily conscious but I think we’ll all agree that most people who are in any kind of suffering have privileges that healthy people don’t have. It can be anything from being exempt of duties or staying home from work to dependence on others and at the extreme it permits them to limit the degree of self-responsibility they exercise regarding their life path.
To say that disease is a means to get attention is an understatement because the psychological mechanism of disease is much more sophisticated and specific than that. Disease exempts people from dealing with very specific aspects in their lives and gives them justification for failing to realize themselves, for lack of creativity, indecisiveness and many other aspects.
Disease is a means for fulfilling needs that people don’t know how to fulfill in any other, healthier way.
Until people learn how to nurture themselves and take care of their needs in healthy ways they can’t afford to let go of disease.
Defining Yourself by Your Health Condition
Over time people tend to define themselves through their health conditions and the process of dealing with it. Disease becomes the basis of who they are and what they can strive for, setting very concrete limitations to personal and professional aspirations.
How many times have you heard someone say:” I can’t apply for that job because I have __________” (fill in the disease of your choice)
“I can’t break up my marriage because there will be no one to take care of me”
Healing implies that all the dreams people gave up on by defining themselves through their disease would become attainable and they’d have to actually deal with questions such as “what do I want” and “where do I want to be in my life”. Dealing with these questions is far from easy and in fact can be extremely overwhelming.
No Wonder People Don’t Heal!
Disease is an investment that involves a complex system of needs, motives and interests that are usually disconnected from the physical condition itself and for the most part out of one’s awareness.
Healing is not possible without bringing these motives out into the open and into the awareness. It’s too threatening. Healing is not possible without addressing unfulfilled needs and without acquiring self management skills so people have the confidence and ability to take care of themselves.