3 Biggest Lessons of 2021

I did a FB live inside my Holistic Pharmacists group this week about the top 3 lessons I’ve personally learned over the past year. Truth be told, these lessons have been a long time in the making, but they really solidified for me as I reflected on the past 12 months.

I want to share them with you, and I invite you to reflect on your lessons from 2021!

For me, these came to the forefront of my mind as my biggest takeaways from this year:

  1. Healing is not the same as curing.
  2. Your only limitations are in your mind.
  3. You always have a choice.

Healing is not the same as curing.

We often equate the two, but they may or may not be mutually inclusive. A cure is something we are usually after in therapy: we want a final, definitive endpoint where we can feel 100% healthy, or 100% “rid of” a disease state. However, I learned that you can heal without being cured. 

Healing can happen on many different levels: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Healing is the recognition and acceptance that you are already whole and perfect, just the way you are – regardless of meeting your ideas of “how you should be” or “how things should look.” 

Healing is a choice, and is available to us at any moment of our journey. It’s a state of mind (and body/spirit), not a final destination.

Your only limitations are in your mind.

An extension to the above realization, with infinite applications. Whether conditioned to stay within your lane, by society, family, or otherwise – you can break out of your perceived glass ceiling. 

Many animal models and human behavior studies demonstrate the strength of conditioning, as well as the placebo and nocebo phenomena. Pavlov’s dogs, elephants too meek to move, mice who choose safety over freedom – are all examples of this. 

As a pharmacist, I interpret many clinical drug studies – all of which need a control/placebo group to measure the drug effect against, because of the inherent power of placebo to strike. 

There are so many examples of people given the same diagnosis and prognosis, who will go on to live out varying degrees of lifespans and experience vastly different quality of life. What causes some people to beat all the odds? I daresay it’s their mindset.

So if we can be trained into “submission,” we can also untrain ourselves. And if we can harness the power of the placebo, rather than account for it, we can reduce the need for so many interventions and medications!

You always have a choice. 

My favorite realization, brought to light with all the mayhem of the past 2 years, and taking the forefront of the current climate. 

I believe that choice is a defining quality of humanity. When you don’t have choices, you cannot exercise your human rights. I believe in medical freedom. I believe in bodily autonomy.

I also believe that unless you are dead, you are not at a stalemate. There’s still another move to be made, another choice you can take.

Each choice may have its own pros and cons, and consequences. But it’s still yours to make, after weighing all the potential outcomes. 

Patrick Henry, one of the Forefathers of the US, is quoted, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” 

While morbid, that sentiment is demonstrating choice.

So know this, you always have a choice. The right choice may be difficult to figure out, let alone execute. But you can make the best choice for you, with the knowledge you currently possess – in every situation.

Do you agree? How do these apply to your life?

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