What is a quirk and what is a treatable problem?
We don’t want to change who we are, but we also want to live our best lives. So the line of demarkation comes when a ‘quirk’ impacts the person’s ability to participate in aspects of life that limit the person’s ability to live his or her best life–typically these are activities that the person [or animal] otherwise would enjoy but are unable to enjoy on account of the ‘quirk.’
It is an easy rule, making a gray area into black-and-white. I am so grateful for those that I think I’ll create a category for them on this blog right now!
So let’s flesh it out a bit …
I learned it when my eldest was young and I was on a Yahoo! group for parents of highly sensitive children. Being highly sensitive in and of itself is actually normal, the list leader explained. When a child is exhibiting behavior that hinders the child’s ability to participate in activities that the child otherwise would enjoy, you are looking at a treatable problem.
So, a sensitive child might want tagless t-shirts but would be able to find t-shirts that worked for him. Someone with a sensory processing disorder might have difficulty finding any shirt that felt comfortable. In the words of the SPD Foundation, “While most of us have occasional difficulties processing sensory information, for children and adults with SPD, these difficulties are chronic, and they disrupt everyday life.”
Similarly, someone who is anxious about starting a new job but able to figure out a way to do it anyway would be considered normal. It would be considered a problem for someone who repeatedly experiences anxiety, especially if it is anxiety that prevents the person from performing tasks or participating in activities that would benefit the person.
By the way, these also exemplify the difference between an acute problem and a chronic problem with respect to homeopathic care: Generally speaking, the acute problem [first instance in the examples above] is considered the kind of problem that can be treated through self- or home-care. That is, you can figure out a remedy that would help you [such as Gelsemium, for anticipatory anxiety or Rescue Remedy for general stress in the second example] and treat yourself. For a chronic issue, you’d be looking at professional help from a homeopath and/or licensed medical practitioner. In homeopathy, we would call it “constitutional” care.
As a parent and even as an individual, it helps me delineate what behaviors [since physical issues are usually obvious, even though they follow essentially the same rule!] should be addressed and which ones are just part of who we are.
Love ’em or Leave ’em?
The other aspect of this issue is the torment of wanting to love a person [including oneself] for who s/he is while finding certain behaviors to be highly problematic. In homeopathy, we meet people where they are, without judgment, with the goal of helping a person live as true to who s/he is as possible.
A homeopath wouldn’t treat a baby that cries when it is super hungry, for instance. That baby just needs to be fed! There isn’t a homeopathic remedy that would ‘fix’ that, because it is not only natural but beneficial behavior. However, homeopathy can help babies that cry for hours at a time even when their obvious needs are met [needs being things like being held, being fed, being clean, appropriately dressed for the weather].
Homeopathy also will not change a person at their core. Homeopathy is not a modality offering an externally imposed suppression of symptoms. One way I describe homeopathic treatment is as an unburdening. Homeopathy helps to relieve us of that which prevents us from living our best lives, whether those issues are physical, emotional, or even deeper than that.
This rule helps us determine when you simply have to figure out a way to work with the issue[s] versus issues that require or would benefit from homeopathic [or other] treatment.
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