What do you believe about menopause? Are you being led down a tunnel of belief that doesn't fit with what you have experienced and who you are? How can we be ourselves under the weight of such imposing beliefs around menopause?
Epigenetic research reveals that beliefs can influence your health and well-being.
Beliefs around menopause have changed over the years. Until the 18th century, menopause was seen as a natural phenomenon, but the Victorians often sent women to asylums due to 'hysteria.' They believed that the ovaries were the centre of the feminine essence. If they stopped working, perhaps Pandoras Box would be opened and goodness knows what would be let out!
I remember my mom taking HRT because she was suffering menopausal symptoms. She said her doctor recommended it. No questions asked - no internet research, Facebook groups or even open discussion around menopause back then. The belief in the doctors recommendation was powerful and if the doctor told you to do something - well, you believed it and you just did it!
False information creates erroneous belief
The 2002 WHI report created a lot of fear around the possibility of breast cancer. During that time, the number of women taking HRT in the UK halved. The belief in the doctor's word wore thin - doctors themselves were confused, many advising their patients to stop taking it. Later it came to light that the risks published in the first report were overestimated. Nowadays I think that women take HRT because of an informed decision based on their health and the severity of symptoms, rather than just on recommendation, but how much does belief influence our decisions and how we experience menopause?
Could it be our own beliefs that dictate our experience? for example, if you believe that you are less attractive as you age, you may stop caring about your appearance, or perhaps if you feel that no-one will be looking at you anymore in that way, you may start to feel invisible.
What do you believe about menopause?
Then what are you expecting & how will that influence your experience?
It's true that perimenopausal symptoms are a wake-up call for most women. You cannot ignore a hot flush or the emotional tension of mood swings. You can, however, choose how you live and express during this time, and that choice is based on belief. Beliefs and ideals about the roles of a mature woman, what a woman in menopause will experience, what is expected of her, what she should say, wear, look like, etc. are all based on subjective experiences. They are not necessarily true. This is also the case when it comes to making decisions about what is right for you, what you should take to ease symptoms or who you should speak to etc.
How to let go of the imposing beliefs around menopause...
What difference do you think it would make if you could welcome menopause as a catalyst for self-discovery? A doorway to another level of self-awareness that feels joyful and purposeful? Does that seem a bit far fetched? Ask yourself why? Because you always have a choice in whether you believe something or not, and you can choose to change your beliefs around menopause by appreciating your experience and your expression during this time. For example:
Rather than believe what others tell you about HRT, supplements, what works etc. try things out for yourself. Speak with people and investigate. Be curious and don't doubt your own discernment.
When you get a hot flush and you feel fire rising from your belly which seems to consume your whole body, rather than reacting to this particular symptom of menopause, choose to believe that you are evolving, that this is a clearing of emotional tension and that your body is telling you to stop and listen - be present.
When you feel anxious, accept it as a reason to examine what it is in your world that you feel you cannot deal with. You could accept that you feel irritable and observe what it is in your life that is making you feel tired and stressed.
You don't need to suffer silently or "Keep Calm and Carry On" but you can observe your body's communication more and allow it to express rather than reacting from a belief and then experiencing the consequences.
What so you believe about menopause? and what do you believe about yourself? Choose to question those beliefs and instead, believe in your ability to thrive as a powerful woman who is wise, strong and loving.
Discovering new purpose
Honouring yourself and taking the time to nurture your body during menopause is an expression of true self-love. I feel that the opposite, low self-esteem, is what most women suffer to some degree, and it is at the root of our belief about ourselves, and hence, our suffering.
Perhaps menopause has something to tell you, a purpose that you can believe in. It's a time for deepening the relationship with yourself, for realising the wisdom within you.
Believe in YOU!
So why not put yourself first for once? You as a woman first and foremost, before the imposed roles, expectations and what you think you need to do, to be successful or accepted. Whatever you believe with regards to menopause, whatever solutions you believe in and whatever way you experience it, be more in tune with you, believe in you and trust in you.
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