Illness in any shape or form is a difficult thing to deal with and it can honestly totally affect how you view yourself. This is something that I am currently learning as I am on this journey of trying to figure out what in the world is going in with my body.
I have dealt with extreme fatigue and muscle/bone pain for years and years, but I have been dismissed by so many doctors. Only recently did I see a rheumatologist who finally gave me hope of a diagnosis, but this actually came with mixed feelings.
Yes, I was able to relax a bit knowing that someone FINALLY believed me, but wait, this means that I could be living like this for the rest of my life. At only 22 years old this is totally and completely overwhelming.
There are days where I can feel myself spiraling downward with negative thoughts, views, emotions, and countless what-ifs. I am now faced with the prospect of having to change up my idea of what my life will be like and the truth is, I might have to do some things differently than the way other people do them.
Real, Unfiltered Self-Honesty
But if I’m being completely honest, this terrifies me and truthfully can make me feel so negative about who I am. I feel like I don’t look as good as those that aren’t struggling with debilitating pain and fatigue.
“It’s not fair, their life looks so perfect and they have a perfect body to go with it. They look so good and I bet it’s because they can workout. I wish I could workout, but I can’t even get out of bed. I don’t want to leave the house. How am I supposed to have a fun life? I’M SO INSECURE.”
These are just some of the thoughts that swirl around in my head on a sometimes, daily basis. These thoughts can literally cause me to see myself negative light both inside my head and in terms of the way my body looks.
When I Don’t Feel Good, I Don’t Look Good…
When you simply don’t feel good, it can be so easy to feel as if you look as bad as you feel. As weird as it may sound, I can honestly even feel like I need to shower more during those flare up periods because I just feel like I am so gross even though chances are, I’m probably not.
During the toughest days, I don’t even really want to be around people because I feel so much less than them. I feel like everyone looks good as me, and that if only I felt good then I’d be able to look good too.
And yeah maybe if I did feel good I would be able to put more effort into getting ready or would enjoy doing my makeup more, but the reality is that some days that is just not the case. And you know what? THAT’S OKAY.
Those two words are for sure so much easier said than done, but it’s something that I am beginning to truly understand the importance of.
My health does not have to define how I look or how I perceive myself. There will probably continue to be difficult days, weeks, or even months, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t still have a beautiful life and feel good about myself living it.
I think a big part of striving for that type of life and mindset is actually confronting the thoughts of comparison. My best life is not going to look like anyone else’s.
My body doesn’t function like my friends’. I may not be able to do as many things or go to as many events as other people. But does that mean that I am not living a great life? Not at all.
And what’s more? I can feel good about myself regardless.
If my body is working differently than others, well then of course it probably isn’t going to look like theirs either. What’s important is taking the best care of myself that I can and not feeling bad about it.
The Way It Should Be
Body positivity should not be contingent on something so unpredictable such as health. My health could change in an instant, but my body positivity and self-love can remain the same. I’m not saying that it won’t be difficult at times, but it is so worth it.
If I am in more pain one day and I am also thinking self-destructive thoughts, I can end up feeling so much worse because our minds and bodies are so connected. Having that real and authentic outlook filled with self-love could change the whole course of a day.
Illness does not define me or anyone else. Life may look a bit differently, but different does not equal bad. Struggles are just one thing that contributes to the overall beautiful people that we all are.
Health challenges do not have to determine how we view ourselves.
This has been something that is so hard for me to learn, but without being honest with myself about my negative thoughts, I would not be able to change the trajectory of my mindset.
Where Do We Go From Here?
I would say that acknowledging that things may be difficult is the first step, because you cannot move on if you’re just trying to pretend that everything is great when it isn’t. Then, being honest with negative thoughts is so important; you need to see the negativity before you can begin change it.
And then realize that you can still have an amazing life, and that while your definition of an amazing life might be different than your best friend’s, that’s okay!
Life is beautiful if we give it the chance to be. Don’t waste time dwelling in the negativity because the truth is, there will always be something in life that we could be down about- Life. Isn’t. Perfect.
The Power of Self-Love
Remaining positive and striving for self-love regardless of the circumstances is something that is so powerful. Even though it may not feel like my body loves me right now, I am striving to choose to love it anyways.