The following is taken from Chapter 19 of When the Body Says No; Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection by Gabor Mate, M.D.
The Seven A’s of Healing
“Pursuing the seven A’s of healing will help us grow into emotional competence. Emotional competence is the capacity that enables us to stand in a responsible, non-victimized, and non-self-harming relationship with our environment.” Pg. 263
To heal we don’t need to be perfect, we only need to accept ourselves as we are at this moment and time and see ourselves as whole despite whatever we may feel we are lacking. We approach ourselves with compassionate curiosity, as we would anyone else who was suffering.
We learn to be aware of what our bodies tell us, and do not necessarily rely on our intellect alone. As we learn to be aware of the internal messages our body tells us, we learn to trust these messages to guide us in our lives and to gauge our level of distress.
Oftentimes disease and disorder manifests due to one’s inability to genuinely experience anger. We either learn to turn it inward on ourselves, or outward in rage. However, there is an alternative. We can learn to experience and feel anger deeply, and to let it appropriately inform us of our environment or situation. We then are empowered with a choice of whether or not and how to express this anger.
Through the development of appropriate boundaries, we can learn to sense and understand where we begin and end in relation to others. We are then able to identify our internal center of control, and are able to authentically articulate our life experience.
Being connected to others and having meaningful relationships is a proven indicator of favorable outcomes in regards to health. When we know and feel that we can truly rely on others and share our vulnerabilities, we are better able to love ourselves and overcome life’s obstacles.
Assertion does not necessarily mean that we must act out or speak up, although at times this is in our best interest. In this case, to assert one’s self means to truly be who we are in this world. Instead of acting, this notion encourages being, and taking up the space that is our birthright on this earth.
There are two values that we can affirm to help us heal. The first value is our creative nature, our need to express ourselves and be connected to some kind of creative energy. The second affirmation is of our connection with the universe, with something greater. We remember that “we are a part of the universe with temporary consciousness, but never apart from it.” Pg. 280