The choice is always yours

We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose how we deal with what life has sent our way.

We can either decide to be a victim of misfortune, or we can see that we have control over our future path and create the conditions from which we are able to thrive and be happy.

We can choose to keep blaming our parents, the community we live in, economic or social disparities, or our health issues for why we are miserable. Or we can accept that our thoughts and feelings (including the self-blaming language we hear whispering inside our head) have no validity unless if we give them that power.

We can choose to accept the responsibility for the care and nurturing of our life, understanding that no one else is better qualified to know what’s right and best for us. That doesn’t mean turning away helpful advice or support; we should be discerning but open to possibility. If what you’ve been doing isn’t working, it may be time to consider other options. Even small movement forward is better than being stuck.

I know that sounds like self-help jargon, but the fact of the matter is, it’s true. I know it’s true, because I’ve seen it borne out again many times in my life, and have seen it from people who, for different reasons, were circumstantially far worse off than me.

About 10 years ago, I was in a really tough place. I was recently married and it was apparent that this wasn’t the right thing for either of us. I had a high-pressure job and was also trying to finish my college degree. And I was chronically sick. I had Interstitial Cystitis, which is a chronic inflammation of the bladder, as well as IBS, and other issues typically associated with these conditions. Not surprisingly, I was depressed and anxious.

It took 6 years after the onset of symptoms to be diagnosed with IC. By that time 10 years ago, I was a wreck physically and emotionally. On the outside, I projected an image that I was fine, but I was often in pain and took a handful of medications a day just to keep the worst of my symptoms under control. I suffered a lot of self-hatred. I remember daydreaming about ripping my bladder out. Emotionally and spiritually, I was good as dead.

And yet, even during my lowest points, I told myself I was not going to be this way for the rest of my life. I was going to get better somehow. I was not a sick person with an incurable condition.

As I made healthier changes and choices in my life, I slowly did get better. It took several years, but I eventually weaned off all the medication, and now consider myself as someone who used to have IC. The other functional issues I have are either not active or under much better control. I have healed and am continuing my healing journey. I am emotionally and spiritually alive, and very much in tune with my body. My life is not necessarily unicorns and rainbows all the time, but I focus on self-care, not self-destruction.

I have told my story publicly before and receive emails from people were told they had this horrible disease and although it could be managed, it was likely to get worse. They are hurting and want someone to tell them that it can get better. They want advice. I do both. I see the same with people who complain in person or on social media about how they’re depressed/anxious/unable to sleep/in pain.

And yet, even with good, solid advice and support, many of them don’t follow through on the steps necessary for healing to manifest. They want a quick fix for their misery. There isn’t any.

The way to healing and happiness takes time, perseverance, the willingness to take a few risks and the flexibility make adjustments as needed. You have to believe in your intrinsic worth. It also helps to understand that some things in life that happen are simply not personal. The universe is not out to get you. Loss is an fundamental aspect of the human condition, but so is abundance. It all depends on which one you prefer to occupy your time and energy.

No one said it was going to be easy, but you do get to choose the path you take to get there. You can choose to say your life sucks and so what’s the point  – or you can choose to take thoughtful, heartful action that is ultimately both empowering and healing. It’s up to you.

Photo credit: mysticpolitics

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