Isn’t acceptance the goal? We have ‘accepted’ our situation, we are ‘at peace’, we can ‘move on’.
Our search for acceptance can be self-development spiralling out of control, a relentless pursuance of this fabled state. We dream it will provide the longed for emotional palliative.
When it doesn’t or if we never arrive tensions rise (and how can you arrive when any irritation, sorrow or anger is taken as a sign that you still haven’t accepted fully yet).
I don’t believe you
I believe in taking responsibility for our health.
I do not believe in blame.
I don’t believe you are sick simply because you didn’t forgive Jane Fowler when she stole your doll in prep school. Oh that it were so simple.
When we begin on our acceptance journey it can feel like a huge emotional tangle, mixed up with anger, unprocessed emotions, new struggles, blame and an overdose of pop psychology that tells you ‘five simple ways to be happy now’.
My acceptance journey
For me, acceptance is a journey, and it’s one I’m still on and may always be on. Click to Tweet.
I accept my situation, my challenges, limitations and talents.
And then something changes, a new symptom, a new place that throws up new struggles (stairs I can’t manage, a sofa too high or low), I get a little worse or a little better.
All these changes throw everything into sharp relief, I have to focus on my struggles again, and once again I acknowledge, assess and proclaim that my struggles are nothing compared to my possibilities.
What is acceptance then?
As I see it, an essential part of acceptance is realising that you have a health condition and being aware of it, acknowledging it, bringing it into focus in your daily life.
The benefit of this is that you know it can impact you.
So for example, you are aware that you need to pace your energy and that if you go home late tonight you’ll need to rest up tomorrow and that’s okay.
It can be okay that we have these health conditions because we’re living with them right now. That’s the important bit.
We are actively being aware that these are our lives, that life is happening now, not at some in determined point in the future. Each moment is our life.
And so we can choose happiness, choose to advocate for ourselves, ask for what we want and need, and live our dreams and do the things we enjoy doing.
We realise that these illnesses are where things are right now. For some of us they are going to be a long term part of our lives, but that’s okay. They are only going to be a part of our lives, we are not going to let them take over.
We are not a disease walking around with a name attached. Our lives, our bodies, and this is just a challenge that we have and something that we live with. Click to Tweet.
Having a chronic illness can be manageable, we can deal with this, we can make the decision and work towards it and even when you don’t feel like it, even if you don’t think you are strong enough.
This is your precious life we’re talking about and it’s worth the effort to be happy, present, fulfilled and as well as we can be.
We need to accept that there is a problem before we can start dealing with it. This could be simple, you could say to yourself now….
“I am living with ____________ but it is only a part of my life, it does not define me. I am strong enough to manage and I am going to start dealing with it and reclaiming my life now.” Or words appropriate to you.
It’s simple but profound.
You can journal it, pray it, find an object or talisman to symbolise your declaration and your independence from your diagnosis. Click to tweet.
It may bring up some strong emotions for you. You may have to chop through some emotions before you can reach this point. So dive into these posts, which are a survival guide through the forest of emotions. This forest can seem vast and fearsome ant first, but we know secret paths and escape routes and together we can get through.
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