The title may sound ironic. How can being constantly limited and in pain possibly be a good thing? How can it be beneficial? You might be surprised. Since being diagnosed with Lupus and Rheumatoid, I have found so much to be grateful for. From friends and family to life lessons, the benefits run the gamut. Mostly, though, chronic illness has taught me to appreciate my life and live it well, now, not some day. Because frankly, I’m no longer guaranteed there will be a some day.
I’ve mentioned this before. Chronic pain and illness gives you so much empathy for others, it’s astounding. I’m not just talking about empathy for those with illness, pain or physical limitations. I’m talking about everyone. Some of the people I used to abhor, I now try to understand better. In fact, barring the outright evil, I make a genuine effort to see the good in all people. On the flip side, for the first time in my life, I have the strength to walk away from people who bring me constant sorrow. I still love them, I just choose not to let their negative actions hurt me any more.
Bringing true passions to light
What’s most important to you? What do you want to accomplish in life? With chronic illness, there is no questioning your purpose. It’s that thing you think about when you realize your time and physical capability are limited. There it is, in all it’s glory. Now, you can act on it. You have the advantage of knowing exactly what your purpose is. Live it.
Illness enables you to do what you love
How many times do you hear that you should do what you love? Do you follow that advice? With chronic illness, you often have no choice. Most people with chronic illness find working a conventional job impossible with constant pain and limitations. How can that be a good thing? Well, for me, it made doing what I love my only option. How great is that? Without being sick, I may have continued working that dull, boring job forever, just to remain stable. Being forced to leave also forced me to explore other options.
Living one day at a time
Chronic pain and illness inspires you to spend every day living life as fully as possible. That’s something we all should do, isn’t it? Unfortunately, we humans tend to get stuck in a rut. Chronic illness pulled me out of mine. I had to think differently. I had to realize there is no time like the present and no time to wait for happiness. I had to create a happy rest of my life, now. Doing so has truly been a very healing process for me. It has centered me, spiritually.
Being present in the moment.
Who cares about taking pictures? Who cares about posting every single thing you do on Facebook? Who cares if you’re doing anything the ‘right” way according to societal standards? With chronic illness, it’s all about the experience. You listen more intently, you love more deeply, you feel more strongly. That’s because you are well aware that it may all be taken away from you at any moment. So, this moment, the one you are in, becomes more important than anything. Live it well.
Don’t feel sorry for me.
I love my life and every aspect of it. I’ve even learned to embrace the bad days for what they bring and teach me. They’re a part of life too. On bad days, I may feel a little blue. Heck, sometimes, I feel downright depressed. Still, I’m one of the most fortunate people I know. I have wonderful friends and family. I have a roof over my head. I have running water. I have food on the table. Many people are not so lucky. I’m surrounded by people who understand and accept me for who I am. I’m constantly motivated to live my best life. Who could ask for anything more?
More from Jaipi:
Five Things That Ease My Chronic Pain Naturally
Disconnecting With Chronic Illness
Digging Ditches With Lupus