Handling the Not-So-Pretty Moments

There are times when I feel like I have it all together... and then there’s the majority of my life.

I often have the vision in my head of what I want my perfect day to look be, but the times that it actually happens are few and far between. Because that, my friends, is life. That is also the reality of living with a chronic illness.

There’s are moments of pain, frustrating, fear, overwhelm, confusion... the list goes on, but you get the picture. Because when you know, then you know. So, how are we to handle the not-so-pretty moments? Binge on Netflix and ice cream? In the moment, that sounds pretty good to me! But I know that will only create a snowball effect of frustration.

Keep perspective

Over the years, I’ve had to reframe my thinking around these moments. I try not to act so surprised and annoyed when they show up. Because as the saying goes, what you resist persists.

First, recognizing that nobody gets through life without struggles is big. And that which we focus on gets bigger. (I know, I’m just full of the clichés aren’t I, but they help me and I’m hoping they might help you too!) We can’t be surprised that every day is not a smooth path of pure comfort and ease.

Now, to be fair, we all have likely had more not-so-pretty moments than expected this year. And I’ll say first-hand, I’ve had my seasons of deep struggle, six weeks after watching my mom pass from a 10-year battle of cancer, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. The scenarios are unique, but we’ve all experienced deep struggle. And that is not what I’m talking about here.

But the ability to not get so agitated when the day-to-day problems or symptom arises is really powerful. I learned this so much from my mom’s journey with cancer. She said that everyday something would pop up, but if she responded emotionally to every little issue, it would drain energy that she didn’t have to lose. So, she would take whatever action she needed to support her health in that moment, but then she would shift her focus elsewhere. That’s a great reminder for me – address the issue but drop the story that I can easily build around struggles.

Take a breath

I also find it incredibly powerful to simply take a deep breath when I feel emotions arising. The ability to create even the smallest bit of space between me and my response to a situation is powerful. There are so many meditations, breath work, and mindfulness practices that can be helpful. And they don’t need to be done for long periods of time – a single intentional breath is incredibly helpful.

Write it out

Journaling on a regular basis has also helped me to process emotions that are often just under the surface but can build up and come out when we’re triggered by an external event.

So, grab yourself a notebook and start writing what’s on your mind. And if you’re not sure how to start, just sit down and put some thoughts on paper, over time it will flow naturally.

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