By Lisa Copen.
Everyone handles the troubles in their lives in assortment of ways. While some people put on a happy face and intentionally decide they will use their illness as an opportunity, others will drive home from the physician’s office anxious about how much longer they will be able to drive because of the seriousness of the pain. They’ll lie down on the couch and not leave the house for years.
Why do some people thrive even though they have a chronic illness while others simply go into survival mode, even using the illness as an excuse for everything that goes wrong in their life? People who live with an illness and still radiate happiness and joyfulness for life have some things in common. No one copes with illness perfectly.
People who live with an illness and who still are happy tend to have the following things in common:
They maintain hope. Research found that people who have hope actually recover from surgery faster than those who have less hope. Hope is fundamental and a basic step in finding contentment despite your situation. A good attitude to have might be “My illness is invisible but my hope shines through.”
They persevere. It’s no secret that living with chronic pain is. . .painful! Physically, emotionally, and spiritually it can zap our strength and spirit. Typically, our health is one of the main foundations we count on in order to have a change to conquer those dreams. Chronically ill people who are happy have learned how to continue to aim high for their dreams, or to reevaluate their dreams and create new ones. Sometimes the new goals are even more taxing than the original ones, but passion pushes them forward.
They are good advocates for their health. Paul J.Donoghue and Mary E. Siegel, authors of Sick and Tired of Feeling Sick and Tired, write “Getting this help in a consistently satisfying manner is as essential as it is challenging. You will need perseverance, courage and skill. You will need to understand your needs and be committed to getting them.” Happy people feel like they have a say in their care and treatment and they seek out doctors that they have a partnership with who understand the lifestyle they desire and tries to help them reach it to the best of their abilities. People with an illness who are happy tend to ask, “Why not me?” rather than “Why me?” others who live with illness, or who have left abusive homes, maybe even a pet shelter.
They recognize that this world is not perfect and when things are going pretty well in their lives, it’s as a blessing, not a right.
They aren’t overly sensitive and they don’t take the comments of others too personally. If one has a strong foundation of faith they can make everything easier because they appreciate their value and worth as a person. They don’t find worth in their physical strength.
They learn what they’re answerable for (like an attitude) and not responsible for (like an infection that keeps returning). This can help keep away unnecessary guilt for things out of their control.
They communicate adeptly. Being able to talk with others, explain your feelings, learning to listen effectively, and watching your words carefully, can help you avoid a lot of troubles. Misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and arguments can affect your whole life and your body’s capacity to cope with an illness. One must learn to manage bitterness and focus on healthy relationships. Happy people with illness are good at understanding when to talk about their illness and how much to share about their personal lives.
They can share struggles and successes with others. They are able to use their experiences as a way to help a friend or become a mentor. To truly find happiness, we must look outside of ourselves and reach out to other people.
They genuinely care about other people. No one wants to get a chronic illness to receive that “education in life” but people who are happy allow their experiences to be a gift of knowledge. They can share struggles and successes with others. They are able to use their experiences as a way to help a friend or become a mentor. To truly find happiness, we must look outside of ourselves and reach out to other people.
J.K. Rowling, author, once said, “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” This quote is perhaps one of the most wonderful examples of a good attitude for those with chronic illness.