Reframing How I View Myself as Someone Affected by Chronic Illness
How on earth can we manage the “life event” type of situations when we may often put off washing, getting dressed or even eating because we’re so very tired and in pain? When many of us eventually come to terms with our condition, we begin to develop strategies to manage it. In other words, we may become expert procrastinators, and that term can come with a huge load of guilt and sense of unworthiness.
Throughout my life, I’ve believed what my young brain mistakenly interpreted as the truth: I am lazy and selfish. That’s what my grown-ups had repeated to me, and shame lived in me like a parasite eating away at my life force with the assistance of anger and resentment. I am not enough. Not good enough, smart enough, lovable enough, pretty enough, rich enough… What? What is enough and who created the standards by which I should be enough? I have. Yes, and because I have, I can do something about it. A change in perspective is in order!
Standing in my truth is very difficult when my ego is busy reciting my sad and dramatic stories, over and over. Standing in our truth requires the courage to question the beliefs we assume are real. We have to look long and deep to excavate our real self, the old values by which we have been living and the ones that really matter to us now. We have the power to write our own story where we are worthy of love, healing, support and peace of mind, where we are not lazy, but aware of our limited physical capacities, where we are not selfish, but adept at self-care, which makes us compassionate towards others.
It’s difficult to wrap my head around the notion that I have power over anything, so I know what I’m sharing here may not seem doable. What we need to remember is we have no power over the behavior of others or over the events that occur in our life. We do, however, have the power to change the way we react. Our learned and conditioned responses can be totally transformed by changing the way we look at life.
When I re-write the story of my life, I release the victim in me, forgive myself and let go of my need to be guilty of making “bad” choices. I did the best I could. It’s the past, so I let it go. My truth is that today, I feel physically ill but I also feel spiritually strong. I know how I got here and I know it is what it is. Period. No judgment, no guilt – just managing as best I can with as much respect for myself as I would have for someone else in my condition.
So, like the Borg, 7 of 9 in “Star Trek Voyager,” I go into regeneration mode as often as needed, which is pretty often… It is what it is.
See you on the path of healing and beyond.
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Thinkstock photo via Homunkulus28.