A few years ago my kids were diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that initially caused them pain and suffering… and it caused me even more suffering as a mom. In times like those, it’s common to question why something like that had to happen. Why did they have to get this disease? Why couldn’t they just be “normal” like everyone else? That was a dark time for me and I struggled with bitterness. Have you heard the phrase, “be better, not bitter”? On my road to becoming better, in part, I have my daughter to thank for helping me get there.
Recently, she shared with me that she has forgotten the pain she went through and that she only remembers the ways we tried to help her feel better. She also shared that she sees the disease as part of what makes her who she is and she has accepted it and is “fine” with it. She feels happy when she can help others that have the same disease learn how to live with it. Wow! My thirteen year old gets it. She IS better, not bitter. I decided I need to get there too.
So, together, my daughter and I have worked to share information and encouragement with others who have this disease. For example, she taught and inspired a group of younger children with the same disease at a recent conference by children’s hospital. If there is a silver lining to this cloud of disease, I think she found it. My daughter accepted her situation and made the best of it. If you want to know more about her journey, you can read the article Sparkle Like You Mean It.
Mindfulness can be helpful in learning to accept things we cannot change. When my daughter was learning to deal with pain, the psychologist told her not to resist or fight it, but to try and relax and that helped lessen her pain. My daughter learned to breathe through the pain instead of tensing up. Likewise, she learned to see through her situation for the positive things that are possible. Click here learn more about how mindfulness can help us to cope with chronic disease.
When we struggle against reality, we actually make things worse for ourselves. When we start to accept challenges like a diagnosis of a chronic disease… we must first deal with the sense of loss and feelings that come with the situation. Avoiding these feelings can hurt us more than dealing with them. Acceptance can give us freedom to experience reality. We are free to be at peace; free to act to improve conditions of our lives; free to help others.
Perhaps the power of acceptance can unleash freedom in your life in order to be better.