Chronic Disease is a tough cross to bear. There is no denying it.
Having a cheerful disposition while writhing in pain, or dealing with news of a chronic illness diagnosis, may sound like an impossible dream.
I can see my readers nodding and saying “you’ve got that right Sam!”
Stay with me on this though….. we need to grieve our losses and this will take time, plus be both emotionally and physically painful.
Once the grief begins to ease, I believe we have the opportunity to choose what our future disposition will be.
Choosing to be thankful is not easy, believe me, I often fall short.
Medications mess with emotions, soaring pain can bring me to tears and I can be as grumpy as the next person.
I don’t like myself when I’m that person. It doesn’t help my pain levels, it doesn’t help me feel better. If I take stock, stop, breathe and acknowledge things are going pear-shaped, I can deliberately make a choice to be cheerfully optimistic.
My disease won’t change but my disposition can.
There is no point me running Medical Musings with Friends , my chronic illness support forum, or writing about living a life of love, laughter, faith and hope with a rare disease, if I don’t choose daily to make a concerted effort to live a life of joy.
I choose a life of optimism, with a cheerful, thankful disposition.
I choose a life where I care about others.
I choose to be happy despite the cross of chronic illness. In fact, I have found I can be joyful because of my chronic illness!!
I know it sounds strange to read those words, but chronic illness has introduced me to amazing people and opened opportunities to help others in such meaningful ways. It’s allowed me to spend quality time with my husband.
It’s given me time to write a book and achieve my longtime dream of being a published author.
There are many other things I count as joy as a result of my disease. The list grows the more I think about it.
So Which Will You Choose?
According to Guy Winch, Ph.D. , at Psychology Today, below are the differences between how an optimist, a pessimist, and a chronic complainer sees the world:
“Optimists see: A glass half full.
Pessimists see: A glass half empty.
Chronic complainers see: A glass that is slightly chipped holding water that isn’t cold enough, probably because it’s tap water when I asked for bottled water and wait, there’s a smudge on the rim, too, which means the glass wasn’t cleaned properly and now I’ll probably end up with some kind of virus. Why do these things always happen to me?! “
I had to laugh at the “Chronic Complainers” description. None of us could deny we haven’t been that person at some point. I definitely have.
Imagine though if it was our constant disposition. What an unhappy state of affairs. It makes my pain levels and exhaustion rise just thinking about living in a state of chronic complaint.
Sadly, some people are chronic complainers. Some people are just happy being miserable. Often mental illness plays a part, but for those of us who are not mentally ill or deeply depressed, we can choose a sunnier disposition.
For anyone struggling with mental illness, I encourage you to seek the relevant medical help to manage your disease effectively. You may find you can, with time and the right help, embrace joy and make the choice to be optimistic.
21 Days Of Kindness Challenge
A few years ago I was chosen, by “The Mighty” online magazine,to be included in a Lady Gaga initiative, to promote a 21 days of Kindness campaign.
A Calendar sponsored by The Mighty, to support the #BeKind21 campaign, was launched far and wide online. My kindness quote was at the bottom of the calendar. It’s was a huge honour.
A Kindness Mindset
To really embrace kindness, we need open hearts. We need to replace a complaining heart with a listening heart.
We need to listen to others needs, not our own. We need to think about walking in someone else’s shoes, to understand how we can connect with them. What would represent a true act of kindness for them?
We still need to acknowledge our own needs and find a way to fulfil those, and we can do so without a complaining spirit. We can start by deliberately replacing our complaints with positive thoughts.
It’s easier to start thinking about solutions, to address our needs, once we stop complaining.
Ultimately we can make a difference daily, to an unhappy world, by showing a little kindness.
We could even be the instrument to change someone’s chronic complaining disposition, into one of optimism.
Together let’s deliberately choose an optimistic thankfulness everyday, not just for a campaign or season.
Hopefully our choice to be optimistically grateful and show kindness, will continue well into the future and, as a result, we will have a sense of well-being, despite chronic illness.
Lots of love
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.
My book “My Medical Musings”, is published by Imaginewe Publishers and available now to purchase as a paperback or e-book.
Here are the links to online retailers if you would like to purchase the book:
If you would like an audible version of my blog, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women