Wooden Blocks that read Give Thanks beside Fall leaves and acorns with text overlay: Thankful for Fibromyalgia? No, BUT....

Thankful for Fibromyalgia? No, BUT….

As I mentioned in our last Wellness Wednesday post, we’re nearing Thanksgiving here in the states, and I’ve been thinking a lot about all I have to be thankful for. My list is long this year. Would I include fibromyalgia on that list? No, I certainly wouldn’t. I’d much rather be hiking, waterskiing, swimming with the manatees – all those fun things – instead of having to pace everything I do and carefully consider every commitment I make.

HOWEVER I AM THANKFUL for the lessons it’s taught me over the last few years. Here are just a few:

What others think of you doesn’t matter. 

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “What other people think of me is none of my business.” Those are some great words to live by right there. We often worry so much about what others think of us that we do what’s “expected” of us rather than what’s best for us. Learning to worry less about what others think and what we really need can help us to concentrate on the things that move us forward.

People whispering with others looking on, with text overlay: "What others think of me is none of my business." quote by Eleanor Roosevelt

Your attitude does matter. 

I mean, it really matters! It’s something we all know intellectually, but when you live with an illness that affects every area of your life, you learn just how important having a positive attitude really is. I’m not talking about always being “happy” or having a Pollyanna-ish outlook on everything. I’m just talking about remaining optimistic regardless of our circumstances. As I talked about in my post The ABCs Of Remaining Optimistic, we may not always feel optimistic, but we can choose to have an attitude of optimism.

Be kind to yourself.

We don’t always need to be so hard on ourselves. I know for me personally, I’ve always had high expectations of myself and it’s easy to feel disappointed when I don’t live up to my high standards. I’m sure part of that came from my military career, but a lot of it is just how I’m wired. It’s important, though that we give ourselves the same grace we extend to others. We also need to learn that self-criticism doesn’t serve us well and we need to let it go.

Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. 

Many of us were raised to think we had to be independent; that we shouldn’t need to ask others for help; that needing help meant we were weak. The truth is, though, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. Everybody needs a little help sometimes and there’s no shame in asking for assistance if you need it.

You are your own best advocate when it comes to your healthcare.

I’ve heard so many horror stories of how others have been treated by their doctors because of their invisible illnesses. I’ve been extremely fortunate, and my family doctors I’ve had since my diagnosis have been very familiar with fibromyalgia, but many aren’t. Whether it’s an acute issue or chronic illness, it’s vitally important that we educate ourselves and work in partnership with our doctors to find our ideal treatment plan. Nobody knows our bodies better than we do, and partnering with our doctor can result in better healthcare results.

Decide what’s really important to you and live according to those priorities. 

Let’s face it – we just can’t do everything. Even people who are perfectly healthy can’t get everything done. Since most of us live with limited energy, it’s especially important to find out what’s s really important to us and concentrate on things that support those values/priorities.

Although fibromyalgia is not something I would have chosen, and not something I’m particularly grateful for, it has broadened my perspective and taught me some important lessons.

What lessons have you learned from your chronic illness? Please share!

Blessings,

~Terri

13 comments

  1. beautiful reminders Terri, thank you so very much. I have always been very hard on myself too – always had everything in order………it has been very difficult to let things slide, but, I have learned that that I just have to let a lot go and I am healthier for it.

    Bless you for always helping others.

    1. Thanks so much Wendi! It seems many of us are way too hard on ourselves. Like you, I’ve had to learn to just let some things slide and know that it’s okay to do so. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving sweet friend!

  2. I am my own worst enemy for asking for help. No matter how many times friends and family tell me to ask I still want to try and do everything myself. Great post and reminder to us all with Christmas around the corner to not be frightened of asking for help x

    1. Thanks for sharing Bar! I don’t know why asking for help is so hard, but it’s been such a difficult lesson for me to learn too. The funny thing is, people usually WANT to help and when we don’t let them, we really are taking a blessing away from them. Sending hugs your way sweet friend!

  3. I totally agree with every single point and I think that caring less about what others think and redefining our priorities, along with adjusting our attitude and perspective, are all powerful things to do when living with chronic illness. It shows we have a little more control than we often feel, too. Such a brilliant, thought-provoking post as always, Terri  ♥
    Caz xx

    1. Thank you so much Caz! You make a great point about finding out that we actually have more control than we feel we do sometimes. We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we react to them. Sending hugs your way sweet friend!

  4. Great post! Excellent reminders. I’ve learned so much but what seems to stand out is to live in the present moment, let go of what you thought was going to happen, let go of what you could do and just focus on the strengths that each day brings you. I guess this is more of a CFS thing but it’s been vitally important for me to stay peaceful. I never sat still and now I’m forced to, I had to learn how to just be.

  5. So true Terri! I enjoyed this post! I do hope we can change the conversations we have with the medical personnel we come in contact with who have little to no knowledge of Fibro. It’s so tiring to fight your way through each and every day. I hope everyone finds at least one person in the medical field who believes in them and listens to them. 😊💜

    1. Welcome back Kim! Hope you’re enjoying your travels. Having doctors who listen and partner with you is priceless. I’ve been so fortunate, and I hope at some point, everyone will be able to say that. Blessings to you sweet friend!

  6. Great post Terri! The greatest thing I have learnt through FM is to just ‘Be’ rather then always ‘do’! I simply can’t do what I used to be able to do & that’s OK!
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

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