When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and for many years after, I experienced a gamut of emotions ranging from being angry at myself and my body, feeling completely out of control of everything, and feeling exceptionally dissatisfied with life. I felt like I’d been dealt a really bad hand in a poker game that I wasn’t even aware that I was playing.
I was struggling against the diagnosis, struggling against the changes my mind, body and spirit were going through, struggling against my self-worth, and struggling against my life. I struggled and fought against everything and everything that I thought I wanted was just out of reach. I resented the ease with which others seemed to obtain their dreams.
These emotions and this struggle became a part of every aspect of my life: financially, emotionally, mentally, physically, relationships, and career – all were affected my attitude.
- Financially – I grappled with money issues and could not ever seem to make enough to even cover the bills, much less have fun. Then, I would spend money on things that I could have done without, because I felt so deprived.
- Emotionally – I never felt truly happy; I was drained, constantly discontent, and unable to come to terms with past turmoil.
- Mentally – I was anxious and stressed; unable to focus or find solutions.
- Physically- My body was failing me in every way and the symptoms just kept piling up: more pain, more brain fog, more frustration, more heart issues, more digestive issues, more weight gain, and more fatigue.
- Relationships – My relationships with my friends, family, and spouse at the time were barely in existence. I was unable to connect with others in a meaningful way or even simply enjoy the moment, because I was so focused on how bad I felt and how horrible it all was for me.
- Career- I was unable to hang onto a job, much less really focus on a career. I struggled to find my life’s calling and often thought I should just give up. After all, who am I to do anything career-wise, when I could not even get out of bed or function like a normal human being?
The more I struggled, the more I ignored, the more I downplayed my emotions and difficulties, the more unhappy, angry, and discontent I felt.
In hindsight, I realize that I was far too focused on getting things right for a “future” happiness, contentment, joy that would somehow miraculously appear when I made the right changes to my career, fixed my health, improved relationships, started a new relationship, made more money, or whatever was on my mind at the moment.
There is one decision that I made that changed the way I deal with Fibromyalgia and life that helped put these emotions to rest and allowed me to start being happy, joyful, and open to abundance right now, in the present moment, the vast majority of the time…
Can you guess what it is?
I accepted that I couldn’t change the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, but I could start taking small steps towards improving. I took the time to appreciate what I could do. I rebuilt my self-esteem slowly. I figured out what I could do to help others and focus less on myself. I ended a toxic relationship. I began taking better care of myself. All of these things helped in the journey to becoming PRESENT in the present.
All of these things were important to becoming happier, more abundant, and joyful, BUT the ONE thing that really changed everything for me was simply GRATITUDE! I started each morning thinking of what I was grateful for. I looked for inspiration around me and was grateful. I ended each day with thoughts about what I was grateful for.
When my days were difficult and all I accomplished was going to the bathroom and brushing my teeth, I thanked the universe for allowing me to do that and was grateful. When I could bake a batch of cookies with my daughter (and that was the only fun thing I could do for weeks), I was grateful for it. Over time, I began to be able to do more and more. Instead of symptoms increasing, my gratitude increased.
Today, I am grateful for having Fibromyalgia. It has helped me become a better, stronger, more caring person who is genuinely focused on the parts of life that matter most. I find myself feeling grateful for everything, the breath in my lungs, the rain, the snow, the sun, the flowers, the weeds, the time spent with my daughters, the career, the family, the real friends, and so much more.
I am grateful for challenges and I am grateful for the pain. Fibromyalgia helped slow me down and focus on what really matters in life. I am grateful for each moment and see the beauty and wonder everywhere in the world around me. I appreciate the days when my body and mind allow me to simply live. I find nearly everyone around me to be amazing creatures with so many wonderful gifts and talents. I see the beauty and strength within me and around me.
Being filled with gratitude was the first major change that I made in my life to truly manage Fibromyalgia and it has been the ONE CHOICE that has helped lead me towards improving all aspects of my life. Gratitude is deeper than simply saying thank you. It is opening yourself up to truly appreciate everything in life, the good, the bad and the ugly, to the very depths of your soul.
Healing every aspect of my life will take time and will be a journey that continually unfolds. I am still human and have negative emotions. I don’t always feel gratitude every moment of the day, but now if I step back for a moment and think about it, I can always find something to be grateful for in my life, in the world around me, in the amazing people everywhere.
Something deep within me has shifted and I believe it is due to gratitude that I am able to see my life so much clearly and live with a level of hope and joy in this very moment.