by Dr. Tina Marcantel

Identifying with negative self-images can be the root cause of both emotional and physical problems. Dr. Tina Marcantel is a naturopathic doctor in Gold Canyon, Arizona, who also serves the East Valley cities of Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, Queen Creek, Apache Junction, and the greater Phoenix area.

In a recent article [What Is “Energy Medicine” and How Can It Help?] I touched on the idea that false beliefs about yourself can block your flow of energy and, in turn, may be the root cause of certain chronic physical symptoms you are experiencing. In fact, you may be receiving treatment for physical symptoms and find that you get temporary relief but experience a recurrence of those symptoms on a regular basis.

I often tell people that I can help them start to feel better physically, but if they want to keep that balance they may need to work at deeper levels to get to the root causes. That’s where energy work comes in.

self-image smallSo where do these false beliefs come from and how can I recognize them?

We’ve all done things we’re embarrassed about or feel guilty for, and we’ve all fallen short of our own expectations at times. The problem develops when we come to identify with negative thoughts or beliefs about ourselves; when we start to believe “that is who I am.”

Often these false beliefs can be traced back to something someone said about us or the way we were treated in the past. Perhaps you had a parent or teacher that told you, “You’ll never amount to anything,” or you were influenced by false media images of what you should look like, or you performed poorly at work and generalized that into thinking you were incompetent. At some point, you bought into these ideas and came to think they were true. But I have good news for you: that’s not who you are!

Before we get into how to release those negative beliefs, let’s talk about how they can affect you. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why do I always react this way?” or “Why does this keep happening to me?” Maybe you’re particularly sensitive to criticism, or you always seem to attract negative people into your life, or you have a recurring physical condition. The answer could be that your false belief system about yourself is attracting these circumstances.

How can thoughts cause physical illness? One way to explain it is through an understanding of the chakras. The seven chakras are the energy centers in our body. Each of these energy centers has a related spiritual truth—that is, the truth about who we are. In ayurvedic medicine (traditional holistic Indian medicine), each of the chakras also corresponds to physical areas and organ systems in your body. If what you truly believe about yourself does not align with the sacred truth of a particular chakra, the energy flow in your body is blocked or dense and that can affect the related physical organs.

Let me give you an illustration. In my practice I see many people who complain of chronic fatigue. When I do laboratory testing on these patients I’ll often find that there are imbalances with their adrenal glands—evidenced by the fact that they are producing either too little or too much cortisol, causing a “tired and wired” feeling. My first approach to a healing plan may be purely physical; I’ll suggest certain treatments designed to give support to the adrenal glands to help restore their balance. That’s a good start to helping them feel better in the short run. However, if we want to get to the root causes of why they developed adrenal fatigue and how to avoid it in the future, we may need to look more deeply at the energy imbalances in the body.

The third chakra (solar plexus) is located in the area of the upper abdomen. It’s related to the stomach, pancreas, and adrenal glands. Emotional issues that are associated with this energy center are beliefs about self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem. In my clinical experience I’ve found that often people who are struggling with self-doubts in these areas are the same people who manifest symptoms of chronic adrenal fatigue. If they are open to counseling and energy work to resolve their issues, we’ll often see that they are on their way to both emotional and physical balances that will last.

I think it’s also important to point out that when I say a person is identifying with negative beliefs about themselves it may not be on a conscious level. In fact, most of the time it’s not. The reason for that is that we all have a tendency to suppress unpleasant thoughts and experiences and the way we react to circumstances or the people around us. What usually brings us into awareness about these suppressed beliefs is that we finally become sick and tired of the physical illness or the behaviors or the fear or whatever we are experiencing. It’s at that point that we finally ask, “Why?” And if our heart is open the answer will come.

In my next article in this series, I’ll talk about why it’s important to take responsibility for your own belief systems—no longer blaming others for the way you feel or think—and I’ll introduce the first tool to recognizing how negative beliefs may be affecting you.

Related article: What’s Stopping Your Healing?