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The One Thing I Want From Others During My Battle With Illness

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What do you want from me? I ask that question a lot. I am quite curious as to what some people actually expect of me. When I fail or succeed, and they are surprised, disappointed or unchanged, I am genuinely curious as to why. When an associate is shocked by some part of my words or behavior, I am always quick to raise my hands and ask, “What do you want from me?”


I’ve been asking that question even more than normal lately. It’s led me to wonder…what do I want from others? What behaviors, words and attitudes do I expect from the people around me? I’ve mainly been focusing on these things in terms of my illness, because I really feel like I’ve been having a hard time wrapping my head around exactly how I expect other people to treat me.

There are a million options that come to mind automatically. Sympathy? Pity? Cooperation? Toleration? After thinking about these and many others, I’ve decided against them. For me, I’ve never wanted anyone to treat me as though I’m lesser, or even as though they pity me.

The word I decided on? Recognition.

Do you know anyone with a fear or problem that you just don’t understand? Maybe they’re afraid of heights or they have asthma. How do you handle it? When they look out of the window of an eighth floor window and faint, do you chuckle and walk away? If you’re walking and they’re having an asthma attack but can’t find their inhaler, do you wave them away as being dramatic?

Basically, humanity is full of things I can never understand. They may not even seem real to me. That doesn’t mean that they don’t affect someone’s life. Doesn’t mean they aren’t real issues. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t recognize their presence in someone else’s life. Maybe I’ll never understand everything. Maybe you won’t either. That doesn’t matter. Human beings should, at the very least, recognize the things that affect the lives of others.

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Thinkstock photo via Sashsmir.

Originally published: July 11, 2017
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