As a positive word the word health reminds me of certain women I have met throughout my life who would embrace a ‘healthy life’ to an utmost degree, especially in a more ‘alternative’ way. It is an image of a slender, healthy looking woman who drinks herbal tea and eats plenty of green leafy vegetables, who does yoga and who seems to be in ‘contact’ with her body. It is a woman who honors and respects her body with integrity. It is a woman I look up to and admire, a woman I could only hope to become and that I feel very inadequate towards.
The negative connotation on the other hand is something where I associate the word health with a lot of pressure, but also with fakeness and people, who obsess over health, to a degree where it can even become abusive. I also see health in a negative sense as something quite overwhelming where there are so many different voices and opinions and dogmas about what is health and what is not, that I feel like I am being spun around in circles and cannot seem to find my balance. There is also a lot of morality attached to the word in this sense, as something that I have rebelled against my life. Again I have an image of a woman, but this time she is uptight, anxious, controlling and highly judgmental. She may be vegan or vegetarian or she might have very specific ideas about the consumption of fat or sugar. It is repelling to me.
So, this is where I stand at the moment within my mind when it comes to the word health. Now, let’s have a look at how the word health is defined within the dictionary:
1. the state of being free from illness or injury.
“he was restored to health”
synonyms: good physical condition, healthiness, fitness, physical fitness, well-being, haleness, good trim, good shape, fine fettle, good kilter; More
robustness, strength, vigour, soundness, salubrity
“he was restored to health”
o a person’s mental or physical condition.
“bad health forced him to retire”
synonyms: state of health, physical state, physical health, physical shape, condition, constitution, form
“bad health forced him to retire”
o used to express friendly feelings towards one’s companions before drinking.
exclamation: your good health; noun: your health; plural noun: your healths; exclamation: your health
Old English hælþ “wholeness, a being whole, sound or well,” from Proto-Germanic *hailitho, from PIE *kailo- “whole, uninjured, of good omen” (cognates: Old English hal “hale, whole;” Old Norse heill “healthy;” Old English halig, Old Norse helge “holy, sacred;” Old English hælan “to heal”). With Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Of physical health in Middle English, but also “prosperity, happiness, welfare; preservation, safety.” An abstract noun to whole, not to heal. Meaning “a salutation” (in a toast, etc.) wishing one welfare or prosperity is from 1590s. Health food is from 1848.
Sounding of the word
Exploring the word further
I find it very interesting that the word health etymologically is connected to the words ‘whole/being whole/sound’ as well as ‘heal/holy’and how it is now defined as the absence of illness or injury. I’ve often found that it doesn’t make sense to define words according to what they are Not/in absence of, because that automatically links the word to what it is not, and it is like you can never live a ‘pure’ expression of the word because it will always be connected to what it is not, like a shadow of doom hanging over the word.
Looking as health more in the context of an ‘ideal/optimal’ state of being therefore makes more sense; that being healthy is when you are whole as a human being, which also brings in entirely new definitions besides the ones that are commonly known today related to things like BMI and heart rate and blood sugar values in the body.
Here it is also interesting to then look at the soundings that came up for me where health can be explored in the context of being ‘held’, as one holding oneself and/or being held by the body, a form of support – as well as the sounding of ‘her-wealth’ and ‘heal-the-earth’ implying that there is much more to the word health than meets the eye.
In relation to my own relationship with the word health as you can see, I have been quite divided in my mind into two extremes. I have had a part of me that desperately have wanted to become one of these ‘healthy’ women who seem to be so in tune with their body and have at the same time been so resisting towards a more controlling and fake definition of the word where health seems to be more an external belief that one attaches oneself to, to feel better and more than.
But in the past couple of days I have been looking at the point of allowing my body to heal, or rather supporting it to heal/be restored from everything that I have put it through during my time on earth, and in that sense health can be understood both in the context of bringing the body/mind/being BACK to wholeness as well as the state of being whole – and here is also a context to the world as a whole: without me being the optimal whole I can be, I won’t be the best I can be and I won’t be able to make the full potential of myself to make a difference in this world.
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create and hold within me a positively charged definition of the word ‘health’ as an ideal image of who I would be if I was ‘healthy’, as a woman that is ‘pure’ and has ‘integrity’ and that is ‘perfect’ within her relationship with her body, never doing anything to harm the body and always doing what is best for the body
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to compare and hold myself up against the ideal image of health that I have created in my mind and to judge and blame myself for not being able to live up to this ideal image, believing that because I am not living that image, I am ‘dirty’ and ‘impure’ and ‘imperfect’ and thus see myself negatively because I am not able to live the ultimate image of positivity and perfection that I have in my mind – not realizing that this ideal I have created is a still image of something I believe to be a constant, but that is not in fact
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create this ideal of perfect health based on women that I have seen and met in my life whom I perceived and believed to be perfect and pure in every way when in fact I was only seeing one dimension that I was comparing myself to
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that health and being healthy does not mean to be perfect but to be and become the whole potential/optimal I can be as body/mind/being
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to give up on health and becoming healthy within my body because I judged myself as being too far gone to ever achieve the ideal of being healthy that I had created in my mind, which was in fact unrealistic and not grounded in reality but in a fantasy that I created when meeting women whom I saw as healthy and who I wanted to be like, but instead of actually investigating what they were doing, what words they were living, I created an idealized ‘frozen’ image in my mind of perfection and purity that I then defined as ‘health’
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to not see, realize and understand that being healthy is about the WHOLE; the being, body and mind and that being completely obsessed with physical health and doing everything ‘right’ is not necessarily the same as being healthy, if there is no balance and one does also not develop health in being and mind
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to create and hold within me a negatively charged definition of the word ’health’ as the polar opposite to the idealized positive image, where I see and perceive health as a pressure, specifically a pressure to live up to my idealized idea of what health is
I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to judge health and to judge people who I perceive as ’healthy’ as being phony and fake and rigid, within and as perceiving them as being overly anxious about their health and obsessed about their health and being boring because they do not allow themselves to let loose, which in fact stems from my comparison towards the ideal of health that I have held in my mind that I then react against to justify to myself and make it ok within me that I am not living it – in fact indicating that I am in conflict with concepts in my mind and am trying to balance them out by creating a negative polarity to outweigh the positive so that I can feel better about myself
When and as I see myself participating in the image of the ideal of health that I have created in my mind of being a perfect and pure woman of absolute integrity when it comes to health, I stop and I breathe.
I realize that this image and ideal is an illusion I have created in my mind and that it isn’t possible for me to live or achieve this image ideal. I realize that health isn’t about being perfect but about being and becoming the wholeness of myself, the full potential of what I am able of being and becoming in mind, body and being and that this is a process that I have to walk step by step to create and develop within and as myself.
I realize that being pure isn’t simply a matter of consuming certain foods and avoiding others as I do not even yet know what it means to be pure in body, mind or being.
I commit myself to walk a process of bringing myself to health as wholeness and purity within my mind, body and being and I commit myself to specifically investigate the word ‘purity’ further in this context, to understand, embody and live what it means to be pure in body, mind and being.
I commit myself to stand within and develop integrity to bring my body, mind and being to a state and expression of health as being whole within the context of developing my full and optimal potential.
When and as I see that I am accepting and allowing myself to go into an experience of resistance towards being healthy when I hear or see people speaking about health, I stop and I breathe.
I realize that I have placed pressure on myself to live up to an ideal of perfection when it comes to health and that I have compared myself to this ideal and found myself wanting, not realizing that I was comparing myself to a fantasy that has nothing to do with the reality of me actually being healthy.
I commit myself to stop holding myself up against the ideal of health that I’ve created in my mind. I commit myself to let go of the positively charged definition of health that I have created as an ideal of perfection in my mind.
When and as I see that I am accepting and allowing myself to go into an experience of feeling depressed and sad and self-judging because I cannot and do not live up to my ideal of what healthy is supposed to be, I stop and I breathe.
I realize that I can take the word health and live it within and as myself as a living word that is an expression of who I am and I commit myself to create myself within and as the expression of health within the context of healing myself and making myself whole as the optimal potential of myself in body, mind and being that is a process that only I can do for myself, that no one else can tell me how to live or exactly how to do. I commit myself to learn from others and humbly do research and investigate ways that I can live the word health.
Redefinition of the word HEALTH
The state of being or becoming whole as the optimal potential of self in body, mind and being