by Dr. Lisa Avila
In chiropractic school, a teacher I liked very much mentioned that he found people came into the office in clusters—a cluster of people with shoulder issues, a cluster of low back pain issues, a cluster of digestion issues. One year into private practice, I had already seen this to be true.
Recently, the cluster of issues presenting is people feeling marginalized. This trend has persisted every day since last summer, so much so that it has been hard to ignore. Some have used that word, marginalized, and some have used similar words that convey the same message. Some have cried, and some have been very angry. And everyone, all of them, have brought up random moments of being abused within their personal histories.
Imagine? Without any prompting, in the middle of me assessing how their physical issues are responding, I have been hearing random, out-of-sync stories about abuse. The conversations have gone something like this:
Me: let’s talk about how your right foot pain is doing. Last week you rated it a 6 on a pain scale of 1 to 10. How is it today?
Random patient: Did I ever tell you about the time this massage therapist did this terrible thing to me, (insert description in full detail) and then told me that it was a form of lymphatic drainage? Well, let’s see, how old was I when that happened? Let me think…..
Marginalization–a feeling of powerlessness?
This feeling of marginalization conveys a sense of powerlessness. You are cast aside as if your needs and wants and struggles do not matter to the person or persons able to alleviate that suffering for you.
Feeling marginalized in this situation is easy to see and understand. But what can be done about this, once you understand what you are feeling and why? How do you restore (or better yet, instill) a locus of control when you feel powerless? Knowing where it comes from is only part of the battle; the rest lies in the plan to fix it.
If you are feeling this way, it is imperative to have an operating plan to find your way out of this dark place. Otherwise, you will never be able to expect much from the future, because the practical truth is, anger over any situation, without an operating plan to relieve yourself of it, will only continue to keep you stuck.
Now more than ever, the need to stop feeling victimized is crucial; believing yourself to be a victim of anything only sends out a signal that you are welcoming confirmation of that belief system in the form of further victimization, and thus the cycle continues…
Only you control your destiny
You and you alone are in control of your own destiny. Make a decision to move forward on an issue and stick to it. Associate, as best you can, with those who have the same vision as you. Moving forward is very difficult if those around you want to stay put and be angry about what is. And remember, you need no one’s permission to advance in life; so don’t wait for it and don’t expect it.
Children of parents who feel marginalized can grow up inheriting the same feelings. Teach them to be especially careful in situations that can compromise autonomy over their bodies; to understand fully that the responsibility to protect themselves lies with them and with no one else–particularly in situations where mind altering substances are involved.
Lastly, without fear, hold those around you to an extremely high bar of behavior. Most will respond by trying to meet it, and you will benefit by learning how to implement organic boundaries that require very little thought on your part to enforce. These boundaries will soon become unspoken reflexes.
I read a saying once that there are no limits to your success, just a limit to your vision and your ability to see it through…
Be the you the world needs
There are no more excuses to keep playing small in the world. I have seen the mental conflict with “being seen” present itself in many variants throughout the years. We all have it to varying degrees, but it is no longer appropriate to use it as an excuse to stay hidden. Got a great idea? Now is the time to get on with it, and stand or fall, you will never know what could have been if you refuse to believe in yourself and give it a thorough try.
I hope this essay finds you well and happy, and if it did not, that it gives any one of you some tools to get there. As a patient of mine recently said as he was getting ready to leave: “You know that saying, ‘may you live in interesting times’? Well……”
He never finished his sentence but he and I both grinned and shook our heads in acknowledgment, as he put his coat on and headed out the door.
Lots of love to you….