I find myself comparing myself to others, especially, since becoming chronically ill. I have no idea why. Perhaps it stems from a longing of wishing things were different, better.
I sit and compare who I am & how my life is now to how it use to be prior to illness. This happens more than I care to admit.
I also find myself comparing myself to my spouse, who is about 2 years younger than I am and he was chronically ill. Thankfully, to God & a organ donor, he received a new kidney after his had failed at the age of 24. When he was ill, he felt terrible often. Yet, I didn’t hear him complain or see him be down and depressed. I often wonder how he ever managed feeling so awful in body and didn’t seem to ever get down.
Then, there’s the comparing myself to others my age; comparing myself to other mothers; the list goes on.
Why? I don’t know. Perhaps because I desire to do more, have more energy, be more productive, have less pain, less symptoms, feel more positive more often, not need to depend on others as much, not need to take as many breaks, not have to rest as much, not need to say ‘no’ to more things, etc. I wish my house was cleaner more often than it is. I wish I could keep up with my children as much as they need me to. I wish I could be more social. I wish, I wish, I wish.
Never before did I feel such a longing in my soul for things to be different. How do I ever get to that place of contentment, acceptance, and peace? How do I ever get my joy back?
First, I must realize and believe that my life has meaning & value, even when I cannot be as productive as I’d like to be or feel I need to be. My voice, my health, my thoughts, my opinions, my desires, my joys, my happiness, my feelings, my words, etc all matter.
Second, I must find things I take pleasure in. For me, they are bubble baths, perfume, flowers, candles, being able to have deep & meaningful conversations, making real connections with others, helping others feel better, encouraging others, being around others who truly value me & are happy to be around me, watching a funny movie/video, playing games I like. For you, it will vary some. Find what makes you happy & do it, as you are able. Find people that make you happy & feed into those relationships, as you can. They should know that you are ill & cannot always be available or you may have to alter how you socialize. These people will feed your soul & help you feel important & valued. Cherish them.
Thirdly, smile more, even if at first it feels like you’re faking it. Eventually, it will help you feel better.
Lastly, I try to remind myself of some basic truths, which include:
~Every day is not a bad day.
~There will always be people faster, more productive, healthier, feeling better, whatever it is…and…that is ok.
~I’m not going to always have positive thoughts or feel like being positive. That is ok as long as I don’t stay there.
~I still have abilities, although not as many as I use to, but I still have some.
~I’m sick. I don’t like it. It is ok not to like being ill. I accept that. But, I will try my best not to be angry about it.
~I will have days where it’s hard to not be angry, frustrated, bitter, and to ask ‘Why?!’ But, overall, I will not be an angry & bitter person.
~Most people don’t like being ill and the challenges that come with it. I’m not alone.
~I will give myself permission to vent, at times, appropriately, but I will not be a person of complaints most of the time. No one is happy all of the time and I can vent. Then, I will move on and look for the things that make me happy.
And, the very last things I want to share with you that help me are the following things. They may or may not be useful to you.
Here is a link to an app I use called Happier. You find, post & share happy moments with others. It also offers a bit of encouragement. It’s called HAPPIER & you can find it here.
There is this book I read that was very helpful. I often refer back to it to help me. Here is a link. It’s titled, “How to be Sick”