Now, for the first time in my life, I can say I really know who I am. I am aware of my parts that still need healing, and I place my parts that still need space to grow. I don’t push myself to please others. I celebrate every victory, big or small. I forgive myself for the incredibly hard days on myself. I surrender to the reality that hard days are ahead, and I do my best not to take my failures away from the real progress I have made.
I still have days when I feel the immense weight of living with a chronic illness – if I don’t tell you that I will lie. The difference is, I’m finally in a place where I refuse those days to let me question my worth or doubt my motives. I will not allow difficult moments to define my existence.
I do not think that I can reach a place where I can say that I am grateful for my illness, but I will say that I am grateful for what happened to them. In a way, they shaped my favorite things about me and my life: my empathy for others. . . My ability to look good in impossibly difficult situations. . . I have built that deep relationship. . . My relentless determination. . My hope is to live a full life in spite of difficult circumstances. . . My gift for connecting with people. . . My journey of self-discovery. . . And I want people to see who they are.
Would I have been able to reach my true self without having to go through so much pain and suffering to get here? Probably. But I can’t deny that everything I’ve done has played a significant role – something I’m proud to know. No one is more than his illness.
Adapted quotes from Part of you, not all of you: Shared Wisdom and Guided Journaling for Life with Chronic Illness By Janeh Rishe. Reprinted with permission from Mascot Books. Copyright © 2022.