It’s been a long journey, and I’m barely halfway through. When I first found out that I had a chronic illness, I detested it. It was unfair — still is — and I vowed to fight it to the death. I said with conviction that this is something I will never be able to accept in my life. How could a person be so weak, and just hang his or her head in acceptance? No, I would fight pain until the day I died.
After only a decade, I am weary. I look back upon my youth and chuckle — don’t we all? I’ll probably look back again in 10 years time, and laugh even louder. I wouldn’t say that I had an epiphany, but many small realisations that added up over the years. Wisdom from books, personal ponderings, and conversations with therapists and people all taught me a little something.
Last night, I was reading “The Pain Companion” by Sarah Shockley, which talks about befriending your pain. To shift my perspective from a torturer-victim relationship, to that of a life partner. To release the fear I have of it, so that I can be free again. I realised that pain had gifts that I didn’t inherently possess, and by working together with it, we could create something beyond either of us in this life.
Acceptance is power. The hardest thing to do in the world is accepting a bitter reality, so how can acceptance be weakness? It isn’t resignation either, because refusal to move on stunts our growth. To accept things as they are doesn’t only bring peace to our hearts, but it also means that nothing can hurt us anymore. Neither the opinions of others, nor the negativity that poisons from the inside out. Fear loses its power when you open up your arms, and peace becomes your armour.
I’m not sure if I’m ‘there yet’, but I know that I am on the right path this time, for now.
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