Why Chronic Illness Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

benefits of chronic illness

Perspective is everything. When I first started researching how to heal, I came across one of the most beautiful perspectives I have yet to hear to this date concerning chronic illness.  I wish I could remember where I heard it but it made a profound impression on me.   I read this and immediately made a decision.  I decided that I would be the latter person.  (see the first quote below)  I decided that no matter how much work it was, regardless of how many bad days were in between, and no matter what I experienced, that I was going to choose my path.  I was not a victim.  I was not a statistic.  I would never give up hope and I would find the joy, the benefits, and the blessing inside this apparent curse of circumstance.  I feel like I have gotten 95% of my wish and I will die trying to receive the other 5% I am after.

3 years later, I agree: this is the best thing that could have ever happened to me.  Yes, it sucks to have things taken away, especially health and even most of my social life. Yes, I have bad days.. days where that 5% becomes more like 8%… but I made a decision and I make the same decision over and over again. The decision to not give up and to see the cosmic “bright side”.  To look at what this “curse” has blessed my life with. If you are tempted to think this means that things “weren’t that bad”, I encourage you to read My Story. Remember that I tell it abbreviated, leaving out most of the emotion and personal experience that quite frankly, was traumatizing in itself. But for now I’d like to focus on the points that have the power to help you.

There are 3 ideas I’d like to pose.

These ideas are for anyone who is either just diagnosed and beginning their journey or to one who has not had the opportunity to find their blessing among the loss just yet.

1.”Those with a Chronic Illness say it is the worst thing that has ever happened to them.  Those that beat a Chronic Illness say it is the best thing that ever happened to them”(1)

When I read this I was floored. I realized right then and there that I had a decision to make.  I could play the role of the victim– wailing about what had happened to me.  OR I could instead look for the opportunity. Maybe my new life would bring great blessings and fulfillment that my old life never could.  Maybe my life could be better? I now had the time to spend with loved ones.  I could sleep late. I could find a life that meant “following my dreams”. I was taken out of a career that was unfulfilling and didn’t pay enough. I could work on myself and create a whole new life of my own choosing and priorities. All of the sudden I had choices that my old life didn’t provide.  While I may not be able to do things I used to be able to do, I now could do things that weren’t a choice before I was sick.  This perspective only progressed as I got better.  As I got healthy again, I considered my dreams: new ones. And I got to figure out how to follow them.  I got a do-over at life!

2.”Why did you need to get this?” (1)

What is the Universe trying to tell you? How do you spend your time differently than you did before? How have your priorities changed?

In the country song “Live LIke You Were Dying”, the main character took the opportunity of getting sick to spend more time with his family and work on his bucket list.  He decides to open his heart and to tell people he loves them, be more giving with affection and quality time.  His priorities shift from being a workaholic to a family man who skydives and embraces life fully.  His universe was telling him to rearrange his priorities. I suppose that like me, he had probably known for a long time that he needed to rearrange these priorities but always answered that nagging feeling with “I can’t” or “Not today”.  So many of us say our priorities are our family but our actions say something else.  We believe we have no choice but to live our life that way.  We believe that this way of life is “the real world”. If it makes you truly happy, then great.  But for me this was  a limiting belief that filled me with resent.

My universe was trying to tell me to quit spending my time in a way that didn’t align with my morals or my own design.  The Universe was screaming at me, saying “spend more time doing what is important” and less time doing something that isn’t important.  In hindsight, being forced off my former life-path gave me the opportunity to create a life on my own terms, that fulfilled my purpose.  The universe was saying “Stahp it!!”. I had to be forced to listen. The nagging feeling in my gut wasn’t enough to get me to get out of my comfort zone, to step away from all I knew.

Maybe you worked too much and didn’t spend enough time with your family.  Maybe you were on a path in life that didn’t fulfill your purpose and your heart.  Maybe you were meant for more, or at least something more important.  Maybe your priorities and your actions were not aligned. Maybe you are still figuring it out.

3.”Your problem IS your gift” (2). 

I cannot tell you what that gift is but I can say there is a gift there. You may not have even found all of it yet.  You may be on your way to it.  But there is a gift. I haven’t found all of mine yet, but I could write a book (yes, literally) on the gifts I have received as a result of my problem.  And I see even more coming.

I encourage you to spend some time this week praying, meditating, or journaling about these concepts  Take some time to process the information and wrap your head around it in regards to your own life.  Don’t let your ego or negative thoughts keep you from finding the gift that comes with the curse.  The ego will want you to write this off as some “pollyanna crap” but I encourage you to explore it anyway. Open your heart and your mind.  If you write it off without exploring then you are missing out on a blessing. Only you can find the gift. After all, it is yours, nobody else’s.

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  1. This quote came from an unknown source. It is not my original content.
  2. This quote is from Tony Robbins, from the documentary “I Am Not Your Guru”

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One Reply to “Why Chronic Illness Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”

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