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6 Qualities to Admire About Your Friend With Borderline Personality Disorder

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It can be a heavy burden living with borderline personality disorder (BPD), but it’s important to realize that so many of the qualities we may hate about ourselves are actually seen as incredibly admirable strengths by people who don’t know they can be a part of our BPD chemistry. The following are a few qualities other people sometimes wish they had — and we can attribute them all to our BPD.

1. Courage

In college, I was applying to an internship at CNN and couldn’t get the hiring director to return my calls. Frustrated, I decided to show up at his office unannounced and request a position. This man was so impressed by my moxie — the courage to go after what I wanted, even though it was difficult and scary — that he handed me the job on the spot. It takes courage to do the unexpected; to go against the grain; to stand up for things we believe in. And whether it is frustration or anger or sadness that gets us there, courage is a quality not everyone is lucky enough to have.

2. Emotional Connection

Have you ever met a borderline person who was out of touch with their emotions? Me neither. With BPD, we have learned to identify, articulate and experience our emotions in ways many others simply can’t. That’s why many of us become creatives — writing, singing, painting and otherwise expressing the things many people feel but lack the ability to express themselves.

3. Strength

All of us with BPD have fought hard to stay afloat on this journey. Every day, we face battles other people barely realize simply to function in society — but we’ve also been through tremendous ups and downs that led to our BPD diagnosis in the first place. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me how strong I am, I’d be a millionaire. Point being: you came. You saw. You survived. And that is something people admire.

4. Passion

Every first kiss I have ever given someone has ended in, “Wow, that was intense.” Every piece of writing ends with someone saying, “That hit me right in the heart.” Our passion oozes out of us at every single moment, in ways most people don’t even know they’re missing until they meet someone like us! This passion is a gift! It makes us loyal! It means we never give up on the things we care about. We bring this gift to every relationship we experience, and those lucky enough to know us are all the better for it.

5. Discipline

It takes an incredible amount of discipline to survive BPD. We keep our structure; we hold on to our self-soothing and emotional regulation rituals. We breathe deeply, scream into pillows loudly and do countless other exercises to maintain calm in our lives despite our diagnosis. Most people would be exhausted by the lives we live daily. But here we are — disciplined and stronger for it.

6. Empathy

Not everyone can identify personally with the pain of others. Those of us who have a handle on our BPD tend to be incredibly good listeners. When someone close to me is hurt or experiences something similar to something I’ve already been through, there comes a flow of compassion that allows their hearts to spill out to me, with the faith I’ll help them put that heart back together. They know I’m listening. They know I understand. They know they can trust me. This is a quality I would not give up for anything — even a more “normal” mental health diagnosis.

Living with BPD can be incredibly difficult, but it can also be very rewarding for us, and those whose lives we impact. Today, take time to focus on the good you bring into others’ lives just by being who you are — BPD and all.

Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

Originally published: November 22, 2018
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