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The Power of Positivity in Facing My Multiple Sclerosis

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Positivity is hands down what I credit to tackling multiple sclerosis (MS) head-on. It’s been my saving grace and I hope this post inspires you in times of need, too.

woman sitting outside on a zebra print blanket holding her young daughter
Angie and her daughter

Since I was a child, my mom has always said to me, “Thoughts become things — pick the good ones.” Whether I was tackling a problem at school or going on a job interview, she would tell me to visualize what the result would be and say out loud what I wanted to have happen (if even to myself). “They’re going to hire me,” I would say with conviction, and soon enough this type of exercise became routine.

What I learned much later was that having a positive, optimistic attitude was powerful. Far more powerful than I even realized. It may not have been the direct cause behind finding a solution or getting a job, but it helped build confidence and gave me the strength to fight for what I wanted and to go after it. It allowed me to believe what I was striving for was possible and I was capable of making it happen.

When I was diagnosed with MS in January of 2015, I decided to tackle the disease in the same vein. It would not win; I would take control and determine my destiny by simply telling myself the result. I wouldn’t let it ruin the life I loved or my hopes and dreams for my future. Instead, my attitude would guide my steps forward and I would develop an action plan to fight MS to the best of my ability with my head held high.

woman kissing her baby daughter outside
Angie and her daughter

Believing you’ll be OK is half the battle, but I know firsthand it’s not easy to get to that place. I know this because initially, I faked it. Within two weeks of my diagnosis, I pledged I would tackle MS and not let it win. In fact, I didn’t just say it quietly behind closed doors; I said it publicly to everyone I knew – before I even believed it. By putting it out there, I was setting up my own fate just like my mom had told me to do. I was choosing my destiny, and because I made it so public, I knew I would have everyone holding me accountable.

There’s a reason for the phrase “Mom knows best” – it’s true, they do. If it weren’t for my mom and what she taught me about positivity, I don’t know if I would have tackled this head-on. But, because of my attitude and determination, I’ve had the ability to move forward and face this disease. I’ve even decided to help other people as a result of it. And you know what? It took me a little while, but eventually my heart caught up with my head and now I do believe I will continue to be able to live an active and full life without MS bringing me down.

Words are powerful and I can’t stress that enough. Even when you feel weak or defeated, saying you’re going to make it through is the first step towards that happening. And remember: thoughts become things — so pick the good ones.

This post originally appeared on Well and Strong With MS

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Originally published: October 28, 2016
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