In many areas of my life, I have accepted what is. Don’t get me wrong; I am a ‘do not settle’ kind of girl, but in the spirit of being honest, some things are harder accepting than others, especially when not knowing the recipe.
At six years old, I was in an accident. Together with two more accidents at the age of seven, I began experiencing sensory loss in my hands, feet and my back started hurting when carrying things like a backpack and skis to school. The doctors’ and teachers’ way of being supportive was simply saying to not think about the pain I felt.
With time the pain slowly developed into persistent pain and high school made it all worse. Those around me (except family) expected me to function as I did before the accidents, and working harder than my body could cope resulted in the pain only increasing and becoming burnt out.
Even though the pain and its consequences at the time had been a part of my life for more than 13 years, looking back to see what things I once was able to do still felt absolutely heart breaking. What felt even harder – even impossible – was accepting the fact that I might never be able to get back to the ‘normal’ that once was.
In April I went on sick leave and started researching persistent pain. Although the burn out had left me with dyslexia-like symptoms and the short memory span of a gold fish, my stubbornness drove me to make this research my ‘unofficial full time job’. I printed out crazy amounts of articles and spent hours reading, noting the note-worthy and learning how to cope with my current situation.
One day when going through some of the articles, I stumbled upon a text that proved to be a life changing discovery:
“It is quite normal to have feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and loss following the diagnosis. These feelings can be associated with the loss of the old self and contemplating the new self with constant pain.
But accepting pain is not giving in to it.”
These words made me understand something very important: Acceptance is the foundation that has to exist before being able to grow – not from where you wish you were – but from where you are.
Doing everything we can to make something good out of our circumstances and opening our eyes to see that our greatest weaknesses also can be our greatest strengths allows us to find new ways to live life to the fullest.
This, together with the beautiful words of Marthe from The Freedom Experiment, shows what amazing lives we can live although life didn’t turn out as we once thought it would:
“I don’t believe in a good life despite of adversity – be it mental illness, trauma, disability, poverty, physical illness or anything else.
I believe in greatness because of it.”
That puts some great power in your hands, doesn’t it?
I encourage you to stop fighting against your circumstances and flow with it.
Be it the loss of a job, money, a home, an ability. Be it your anxiety, high sensitivity, heck, even your misunderstood introverted personality (INFJ over here!).
Mourn what needs to be mourned. Cry for what needs to be cried for. Be angry. Let yourself feel the loss of whatever is lost.
Accepting life as it is doesn’t mean it is fair, that you are giving up or that you have to settle for less.
Grow from where you are planted, and dare to believe in greatness because of it.
– image credit: Briana Carrion