A friend recently posted a question in her Facebook Group, Freedom to Choose, about ways to gain freedom in life, so you can choose how you want to live it.
“What has most helped you to gain freedom in your life to choose exactly how you want to live it?” Jayne Bailey
My response was one word.
Of course I had to follow through with a short sentence because I really can’t stop at one word!
Acceptance brings me peace and freedom.
After posting my response, I pondered about whether acceptance was just a state of resigning myself to living with the shackles of my chronic disease. Or was it more than that?
I feel it’s more. To me the word resignation had a defeatist air about it.
Resignation (meaning): A sad feeling of accepting something that you do not like because you cannot easily change it.
I don’t feel defeated. I feel alive. I feel blessed. I feel happy. I definitely feel at peace with my situation. I’m not resigned.
Acceptance in human psychology is a person’s assent to the reality of a situation, recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it or protest it
This is much closer to how I feel. My situation isn’t ideal. I’m not delusional about my reality. My life now is definitely a semblance of my former life but I’m not fighting it. I’ve grieved the loss of the things I loved prior to chronic disease. That’s a healthy and necessary process to moving on to acceptance.
Arriving At Acceptance
I’ve arrived at acceptance. I now embrace my new life. I don’t protest it.
It is a new life that I can honestly say I love. I love it as much as I loved my old life.
I’m sure that might seem a completely crazy and foreign concept to many people who know my physical constraints and my daily battle with pain. All of which has required me to embrace a basically reclusive life with my husband.
“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it” Michael J Fox
So what does Acceptance look like for me?
- I look for ways to adapt to my disabilities. If I can’t do something I would really like to do, I set about strategizing to see if there is a way. If there isn’t I move on. Let’s face it, even able-bodied healthy people have things they’d like to do but can’t. That’s life. I used to work crazy hours with little free time and I never had time to do all the things I wanted to do at home. Now I do and I love the freedom medical retirement gives me.
- I don’t feel sorry for myself. When I was working we had a saying that we put on post it notes, ” Choose Your Attitude”. We even went as far as asking each other what attitude we had brought into the office each morning. We’d encourage each other to choose a positive attitude. It was a bit of fun but it lifted everyone’s spirits and created a great culture. When I feel tired and pain is soaring, I absolutely get grumpy like everyone else. I could easily wallow in that state but I quickly try to remind myself to “Choose my Attitude”. Life is too short to be grumpy and I’ve learned it only makes pain worse.
- I count my blessings. No matter how terrible my health gets, if I take a moment to stop and breath I can always find a blessing in my circumstances.
- I live in the moment. One of the greatest gifts my rare disease has given me is to take one step at a time, one moment at a time. I appreciate so much more now. I always loved nature and weather and food. Now I savour every detail of a flower blooming, the seasons changing, the sun setting, the smell of fresh coffee beans, the lingering taste of a favourite meal. I love watching the tides come in and go out, listening to birds chirping and the variety of those chirps is so beautiful.
- I love the freedom my new life offers. No more agendas. No more time frames and deadlines unless I choose to make one. No more alarms going off in the morning unless I want to get up at a certain time. I can eat meals when I like. I can watch a favourite TV show while having lunch which can roll into afternoon tea. I can read, listen to music, pray and reflect when I like. I can write when I feel inspired.
I’m not resigned to my life with chronic disease. I’ve accepted and embraced it for the reasons above and many more besides.
My disease could be a bondage if I let it but I haven’t let it. I’ve chosen not to let it.
Courage To Change
I’ve had courage to make radical changes to things within my control and courage to make decisions which are not without risk.
Changes and decisions have ranged from accepting I need different mobility aides to proceeding with countless surgeries and investigating new housing options to cater for my disabilities.
I’ve recognised seeking a peaceful life, not fighting against things I can’t change, brings the serenity needed to accept new circumstances.
I often say “it is what it is”. I choose to live as well as possible with my disease. It’s not who I am but it is a part of who I am. It doesn’t define me but it does refine me.
Acceptance has brought freedom. It’s also brought peace and joy. It’s brought serenity.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
This post was shared at the Salt and Light Linkup Group
I’m a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story