When You Can't Control Your Illness


I watched an Instagram video of P. Diddy, formerly known as Puffy and now known as Brother Love, giving a speech at a business school graduation commencement. The speech reinvigorated the 10/90 rule. He was seemingly trying to inspire whatever next generation of leaders into action, when he changed the game for me. He said, “There is no rescue team, there is no one coming. There is only you…You have to make a decision that when you fail and fall to your knees, you will get back up and remember the power of you. You are your own light in the darkness.”

It is said that life is 10 percent what happens to you, 90 percent how you react.

It’s like I had been waiting to accept and realize something so obvious and so right in front of my face. I’ve been waiting for some superhero to save me or some doctor to cure me. I’ve been waiting – not reacting or being proactive. The ugly truth is, no one is coming and the cure, if ever, is a long way off. I have chronic illnesses, and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon.

Since I was probably 7-years-old, I have been ahead of the curve in life. I had to take care of myself early in life. Never depending too much on anyone and always teaching myself. I taught myself how to play sports. I taught myself to cook. I got a job as soon as I could at age 15 to pay my way through high school. I even taught myself how to build a business online. I have, and will always be, my own hero.

P. Diddy reminded me about what many of us forget – we have survived 100 percent of our worst days on the planet thus far, all by our damn selves. Not to say we haven’t had help via support, encouragement, maybe even financial assistance but those were all hands up not hand outs. It was you that willed yourself through your toughest times. It was you that got back up when life knocked you down. We didn’t sit and wait on anyone to save us from our illness, we fought back.

All along you and I have been our own heroes, our own lights in the darkness. I don’t know about you, but I think I was afraid to admit and accept that no one was coming. And it gave me an excuse to not be where I want to be in my journey of coping with chronic illness. I won’t ever be able to control my illness, but I can control how I react. How to take care of myself, how I love and trust in myself. All of these externalities I was placing hope in to not have to rely on myself for encouragement, support, or care. It is often times easier to blame lack of outside support than to admit you were scared to bet on yourself.

I think whether you’re a business owner, a chronic illness patient, a healthy person, a student, or just a human being – it is often much easier to focus on what you do not have and what you lack than to accept and appreciate what is, what you have, where you’re at, what you are or aren’t doing, and how much or how often you take care of you. That’s what it all boils down too.

No one knows what you need better than you do. Whether that’s your need to stop working at a job you’re not passionate about. Whether it’s getting a different doctor to better manage your symptoms. Whether it’s accepting and appreciating you’re already you’re own superhero. The minute your attitude towards life matures, the sooner you realize that the secret to having it all is knowing you already do.

You know what you want. You know what you need. Only you know how you will be able to get there within your capabilities, your self-awareness of your strengths, your gifts, and your blessings. It’s simple – life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react.

Remember the power of you!

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