Friday, October 21, 2011

Choose your Fate

****DISCLAIMER: My patience is a little thin at the moment, so this may be a bit snarky.  I am just warning you now so that if you don't want to go further, I will understand. **** 

The reason for my lowering patience is that I see so many people in bad situations, some of their own making, some NOT of their own making, who are just spinning their wheels and complaining about it rather than doing something about it.  Let me give you some scenarios from people that I personally know to illustrate:

Person 1 is miserable in their job.  They are abnormally slow at work at the moment and despite requesting to be cross-trained (the request was denied) during the down-time, they are bored silly.  There is also a lack of communication as to what's going on and what will happen going further which is making them crazy.  It makes them very cranky to be around.  The thing is- they aren't being proactive to either very calmly talk to their boss about their future or find a new job.

Person 2 is in the opposite situation.  They are unemployed and have been so long enough that they are coming to the end of their unemployment benefit term.  They are chronically complaining about the lack of work out there and how they have no money yet they are always "too busy" to really job hunt.  

Person 3 is in a difficult marriage.  Their spouse is - by their own description- selfish, rude, unsupportive and more.  The stories that we as her friends have heard over the years makes our blood boil.  Person 3 has a special needs child who she must care for and the "husband" is very content to quit/get fired and lose their health insurance on a regular basis- and is one of those people who feels that it is never their fault.  After he quits or gets fired, it's not his fault that they can't pay the utility bills or are close to getting evicted.  Whenever she gets the courage to even *think* about leaving he will fake a health scare to reel her back in.  

Person 4 has a chronic illness.  If you listen to them talk, they are the only person who has ever been this sick.  They are the only person who has ever been in this much pain.  If you listen to them, there is not a doctor alive who listens to them, who can treat them, or who is ethical.  As someone who lives with the same  chronic illness, it is evident that they expect a magic pill/shot/supplement/infusion that will make them better immediately.  When they don't get that- the doctor must be horrible. They have quit or been removed from more medical practices than I have been to in my life.  


Where am I going with this?  I truly feel, from the bottom of my heart, that we choose how we perceive our lives.  

  One of the...hazards(?)...of trying to live from a positive, gratitude-filled life is that we become more sensitive to negativity.   That means for me that I find it difficult to be around these folks for long periods of time without my patience being stretched very, very thin.  I actually find myself getting a little angry- which is counteractive to my journey.  

I feel that we all choose the life we live.  There are a lot of things that are out of our control, but we don't have to let them beat us and we don't have to allow the misery in our lives.  On her fabulous blog, Wellness with a Side of Life, our very own @ArthritisAshley posted a blog post about celebs with chronic illness in which she quoted AJ Langer as saying that her approach to living with Fibromyalgia is to allow “20 minutes of self-pity every few weeks. Then I enjoy my life.”  How great is that?  The recurring theme in the examples above is that they have become so overtaken by the bad situation that they are essentially paralyzed by their unhappiness.  

If I could tell them (without alienating them) I would say that it doesn't have to be this way!  I have bad days too, but when I am feeling overwhelmed/sad/self-pitying/a flare/whatever, I tell myself that it's just one day.  I know that each day is a brand new start.  I take myself off to bed and the last thing I think before I sleep is that tomorrow WILL be better.  When I get up the next day I choose to make it a better day.  It may not be a perfect new day, but it will be better than the day before and I continue that tactic until I go through a whole good day- and then I celebrate my triumph over the adversity!  Another tactic is to put myself to sleep  thinking of things that I have to be grateful for.  I may start with my family and end with being grateful that I am alive to have both good and bad days, or I may start with something big and end with the roof over my head and end with the blanket that I am snuggled under.   It's not some trademarked magic trick- it can work for anyone!  

 Maya Angelou once said, "If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change your attitude.  Don't complain."  and I believe that is so very true.  I also need to remember it on my own tough days.  It's been said (a million times) that when we choose to be positive, we attract more good things.  I know from experience that the reverse is true.  When we complain, we are choosing to give power to the negative.  Instead, let's all choose to take back that power and give it over to living a happy life.  When you do, the possibilities are endless.  


Hayley Cafarella said...

This is such a fantastic post. I live with chronic pain and learning that I can truly change my entire perception of my existence without necessarily needing to be "cured" has been one of the most liberating realisations along the journey so far. I don't get trapped by my mind nearly as much as I used to and seem to keep getting better at this over time. My satisfaction with that achievement is the best motivation to keep going that I know! I don't have much time for people being over dramatically negative these days, especially if they don't really want any help, just pity. Thanks for using some crappy situations to make a very positive point :)

Jules said...

Thanks Hayley! Welcome to my blog! It's good to have you. You have made one of the most important discoveries that we "chronics" can make- that we don't have to be cured to have a happy life.

Like you, I am over the "drama llamas". It's just not good for us. It's added stress that's just unnecessary.

Have a terrific weekend!

Anonymous said...

Jules - there is nothing snarky about your post in the least. All true. My motto is "life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you deal with it." OK, I had a few years of therapy and it took me 10 miserable years before I finally said good bye to the husband that couldn't keep a job and didn't care to participate in life. I've done the same with friends who constantly complain but don't do anything about what they complain about. Life is what you make it - this is not a dress rehearsal.

I'm so glad that I'm in control of my life in this way - I'm healthy, and I'm happy, despite RA.

Thanks for the post. It was brilliant