Hair thinning and alopecia can be very stressful for the sufferer as it can make them feel knock their self-confidence and make them feel very insecure. Unfortunately, whilst the sufferer is struggling with this anxiety, this, as a form of stress perpetuates the hair loss physically as it is an auto-immune condition. This means that the immune system is activated (because stress hormones messages are telling it that there is danger) and working against the body. This in effect puts you in a ‘double-bind’.
I take a holistic approach to all health problems, whereby the mind and body are two sides of the same coin. So my approach is to reveal what is behind the physical symptoms and how to resolve the problem from that underlying state.
As I mentioned in my previous article on Alopecia, issues about hair loss revolve around the ego – your personal identity – who you are in the world. Hair is your crowning glory and in society it is used as an enhancement to our identity – in the film The Iron Lady part of Margret Thatcher’s image revamp was to get rid of the hat, bouffant the hair to “make it look important” which was one of the best ways of getting the ‘unheard’ achieved – getting the first woman prime minister elected.
The issues and solutions I outline below are based on my own personal as well as professional experience of how this problem comes about and how to rectify the mind-set.
Paradoxically, I have a daughter, now grown up, who is a great role-model for anyone with this issue. She is a ‘typical Leo’, with a long mane of blond hair and her constitutional remedy is Aurum (gold), whose personality type wants to shine. When out of balance, can fly off the handle at the slightest contradiction because they take things personally (their egos get bruised), but when in balance enjoy bringing out the best in themselves, so that they can shine. Although quiet she makes an entrance when entering a room. As a school-child and the youngest in the class, she would give withering looks to anybody who deigned to make a negative comment about her. I imagined potential bullies scuttle off with a whimper as a result. (I did offer hers services to some of her less confident friends to practice That Look). She has always kept her counsel when it comes to her own life decisions, but she definitely knows what she wants and focusses in getting just that. Outside that scope she endeavours to have fun and relax according to her mood and inclination.
So why would anyone want to give up their own personal identity? Surely, life must be more fun and you get more what you want in life if you orientate your life according to who and what you are. In other words, your life revolves around you. Just like the aurum character, you are the shining sun around which the planets in your life revolve around -how great is that?
Like all ailments, I believe the somewhere along the line has been a disconnection from an aspect of yourself, which in this case I believe to be the insecure, vulnerable part of yourself. You therefore internalise your insecurity. This, as Carl Jung, puts it becomes your shadow side, which means that you no longer associate with that state in yourself and just think the “everyone else has that problem, not you” – this is projection. I’ll explain why:
In my observations, many hair loss sufferers have been in situations in the past whereby they had to forgo receiving security whilst still feeling vulnerable on their own. If there were problems of parents not always being emotionally there for the child or being taken to various relative to be looked after, moving house frequently, parents divorcing, after could be one of many examples of how this would come about. In essence the child, had to create a survival strategy, which goes along the lines of: “Better not rock the boat, as things seem to be chaotic at the moment and just pretend that I don’t need that security I will find another way of not feeling vulnerable. Instead, I will have to forgoe my own identity, which reflects my own preferences, desires and feelings and instead, I will define myself according to other peoples desires, requirements and needs.” You then have to keep you radars out to read what is required of you in order to have a role or identity in life.
What then happens is the the need for security is hidden from view (as I mentioned re the shadow), for both the sufferer and the people around. So the sufferer then sends off the wrong messages, inadvertently, to say they are alright and don’t need anything. So like any trauma, once the feeling is buried, which is insecurity and vulnerability, it is no longer felt, so that the sufferer can manage surviving the situation. Like all buried feelings, however, at some point, when the coast is clear, the child has grown up, those feelings can and have to come out, to be reintegrated consciously into your psyche. Why? Because you have set yourself up to be everything other than being vulnerable as it had been deemed an undesirable state, according to the survival strategy. Where, however would we be if we didn’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable? We wouldn’t experience unconditional love and caring from other people as we’ve set ourselves up to always be The Strong One.
Think of a small baby – its vulnerability illicits love and attention, without any need for a return from those around, because of its helplessness. This is what your spirit wants to experience for time to time, to feel fully alive. This is why you need to reintegrate your vulnerable side.
What came first, the chicken or the egg?
People with hair loss usually feel very anxious about it. But they think its the hair loss is the cause of the anxiety. This is because the brain is always attributing a cause when something does not feel right. What is really happening is that the anxious feeling is the buried vulnerable state that is already within the person, waiting to come out (that shadow I mentioned). But because we deem the problem to be external, we cannot fully experience unreservedly and thereby integrate the vulnerable state, thus healing ourselves. The paradox is that we are trying to fix the external problem, which perpetuates rather than heals the problem.
As a homeopath, I prescribe remedies that match the feelings of loss of identity, self-sacrifice, internalised insecurity and anxiety about feeling vulnerable, which enables the reintegration of our vulnerable side and thereby stopping the hair loss. It is also possible to help this resolution by trying the following exercise:
You can now create your own security, become your own sanctuary, to feel completely safe and whole. Make yourself as comfortable as possible and in your mind, visualise the perfect safe space imagining all the things that would make you feel cosseted and look-after. Whilst you are feeling anxious and stressed out welcome yourself into that space and allow yourself to fully feel those feelings, noticing the sensations in your body, the tenseness in your head and all the thoughts that keep popping in your mind. Because you are now looking after yourself, you can now fall into those feelings and sensations and just notice them with curiosity, compassion with no need to work it out or fix it. Just stick with it and you will notice after a while that the feelings start to ease.
This is you allowing yourself to go back to your authentic vulnerable self, and by doing that, you are healing the original problem. Keep doing this every time the anxiety arises and notice that each further episode should decrease in time.
Know who you want to be, and what you want out of life – then GO FOR IT.
I have listed further pointers for a for you to re-orientate yourself to fully embracing your own identity. Some may be more relevant than others, just work with the ones that you recognise in yourself.
Don’t try and keep the peace.
If everyone and every thing is kicking off – don’t try to smooth things over by pacifying them and telling them what they want to here. Instead, connect with your feelings – which indicate your truth and state how you feel about things and what you would like to happen in the situation. Instead, negotiate and communicate through assertiveness – see Whose running Your Life?
Get out of the servitude role
this is a subtle one. It is always commendable and rewarding to be in a role serving other’s needs, but it’s only if you want to do it for your own pleasure, excitement and curiosity. Don’t let your clients dictate to your the terms and conditions that you operate under otherwise you put your power into the hands of others.
You’re not here to save the world,
be a lightworker or martyr yourself in any other way – you are here to be YOU – and enjoy that experience wholly! It’s no one’s job is to have overall responsibility for things or people – We are here to inspire and admire ourselves and others – that’s how the world becomes a better place!
Be proud of all your achievements and abilities
we tend to overlook the obvious when we’re too busy critising ourselves. Sit on your laurels and preen yourself!
Be your own authority
you know your own goals, values and interests – this is no-one else’s business, so if anyone tries to tell you – go into collaboration with them (see whose running your life), but if you rebuff or yield to them (two opposite movements) then your giving them authority over you – remember, whatever you resist, persists, so even when you think you are fixing the authority issue by always railing on about that bully in your life, that still keeps you in the victim role and thereby giving them power over you.
Never be a sanitised version of yourself.
When we look around and try and fit into the prevailing culture, we want to be accepted not rejected. We therefore have a tendency to modify ourselves to fit it – this modification however is based on a law outside yourself and if everyone behaves in the same way we would be clones, making the world a dull/dead place (Have you ever seen the Stepford Wives?)
Develop your passions and interests
you’re here to enjoy your life (no one else’s). Use whatever’s happening around you at the moment to be your inspiration – choose what you really like, investigate new ideas that catch your eye and immerse and absorb yourself in those activities, doing it for the sheer pleasure alone.
I treated a young father with premature hair loss. He was immensely proud of his young children and derived a lot of pleasure from just observing them. He did, however always feel judged and blocked by his family, when he wanted to go off for a while and pursue some of his own interests. This, again is martyring yourself to the cause.
Fully embody your personality
Yes, you are meant to be that dippy, quirky, funny, unique character. When others are in a bad mood they may complain about it – but that’s their problem and you probably don’t want to be friends with them anyway – there is someone out they who will love you for who you are – and those are the people you are meant to hang out with – But how will they find you if you hide your light under a bushel?
Know that there is a place on earth for you here.
For many of us, the world somehow feels too harsh and wrong at times. It affects our delicate sensibilities and when feeling traumatised, one could start to wonder if there was some kind of mistake and you just have to sit it out until the ‘next life’? With the right vision, when you are in the centre of your own Youniverse (like the word play?) you realise that this life gives you the challenges and opportunities to play things out and experience many things that ultimately help you to get to know yourself better. This is the connection you can reach with yourself – then you realise that you are your own home.
Don’t consult others about your life-choices.
Do you think that your friends and family will approve of your choices from where they are sitting? No, they have their own values, taste and experiences and will only validate your choices if it fits in with their plan. All you need to do is inform them when you are ready to carry out your plans. Disapproval will only be ‘their problem’, not yours. In the extreme case, you may start to know who your real friends are.
Tell other people what they could do to make you happy
You may be pleasantly surprised that your nearest and dearest are waiting to hear how they can make you happy. In our society, things are too skewed towards women being the givers (thus breeding resentment) and men the takers, making them confused and clueless on how they can make their wives happy – which would give them a huge amount of pride and satisfaction.
I had a case of a young mother, who had alopecia, with sleepless babies, whose husband would always go off the week-ends with his mates, leaving her to tend to the family 24/7. Due to her conditioning she found it difficult to issue clear instructions to her partner on what she needed from him. The remedy I gave her helped her to see the value of doing this and she no longer had to suffer in silence.
Don’t try to be perfect
Fastidiousness is a common trait in alopecia sufferers. Perfection is an abstract concept rooted in fantasy and has nothing to do with reality. Aim for authentic instead. Let the ancient art of Japanese Wabi-Sabi inspire you whereby imperfections are the feature that is highlighted as the beauty of the piece. Your imperfections are usually your greatest assets which will make you more relatable and attractive to others. That’s how you gain deeper connection and intimacy with others, as well as yourself – which, incidentally is the most important relationship in your life.
Don’t put other people’s welfare before your own.
How can you give the best of yourself to others when you have not ministered to your own needs first? This is a classic problem for many care givers – personal and professional, leading to at best resentment at worst nervous break downs. It never pays, not matter how valid some one else’s need is. Once you have put yourself in the right place, then you are ready to give – which will be of far greater value.
Don’t live through other people’s lives.
It’s very easy to trade our own dreams in for someone else’s. Grown up children and their parents are a classic example. One of the mothers at our school told her husband that she too felt inspired to go on a gap year, now that the kids were planning world tours before university. That’s the way to go!
Always consult with your feelings first
This is checking in with what’s right for you this is your guideline – see Let your heart be your GPS – minister to your needs and wishes – You are your own priority (afterall, no one else will prioritise you, no matter how nice you are to them).
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