The story we tell ourselves about our preferences

An allergy is a hypersensitivity to a specific substance.

It’s a condition in where body’s immune system reacts abnormally to a foreign element, resulting in everything from hives to rashes to headaches to difficulty breathing.

As someone who’s been allergic to cats, dogs, ragweed and dust for his whole life, this ain’t no joke. Allergies can be debilitating.

Quick history lesson, the word allergy has been around only since the turn of the twentieth century, when a pediatrician coined the term to describe altered biological reactivity. It gained traction in the twenties, when it took on a broader definition to include reactions to everything from dairy and bee stings to mold and hay fever.

But more recently, skeptics have been debating that certain allergies, specifically food borne, as fabricated cries for attention. Claiming that the word allergy has become so diluted that it’s no longer taken seriously. They even bemoan the effects allergies have on public health policy and the production, manufacture, and consumption of food.

But that misses the point. This is a personal issue.

Is it just a fad? Is it just a story people tell themselves about their own preferences? Is it merely junk science that can’t separate the medical from the myth?

The answer is, it doesn’t matter. If announcing to yourself that you are allergic to something help you avoid it and protect your health, then that’s a good thing.

Consider this. The term allergy derives from two root words. Allos, which means different or strange, and then ergon, which means activity. And so, it means that when you encounter with a certain substance or entity, strange activity happens to you, and it’s best to eliminate that from your life at all possibility.

Thus, being allergic a useful story for setting boundaries. It keeps you safe through the power of abstinence, without the need to justify your behavior.

You’re allergic, so you don’t do it. Period.

Personally, I’m allergic to sugar, soda and watching the news. All three things make me feel like shit, and therefore, are allergies.

That’s the most life giving position we can take on this issue. Treat certain things as allergies rather than preferences. Declare to yourself that when you engage with this particular thing, strange things happen to your mind and body, and it’s simply not worth it to make yourself suffer.

There’s nothing to justify, there’s nothing to feel ashamed of, it’s just how your body reacts to certain things. 

What story are you telling yourself about your own hypersensitivity?


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Author. Speaker. Strategist. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Gameshow Host. World Record Holder. I also wear a nametag 24-7. Even to bed.
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