Cheating hurts and it is a very painful, emotional experience that breaks trust, ruins friendships, and leaves you questioning everything. Whether it has been a spouse or a partner that has cheated, a co-worker who takes credit for your ideas, or a friend or classmate that has cheated off of you, it hurts! But our society has taught us that what we find unacceptable in others is acceptable in our own personal lives.
We make it all right
When we see people we care about and love so dearly being cheated out of things they have worked so hard for in their lives, or people being cheated on by someone they thought was their world, our heart aches for them. We as natural born caregivers step right in and are willing to do whatever is needed to ease their heart or to somehow make things better for them. But would we do the same for ourselves? It leaves me wondering...are we cheating ourselves at the same time?
Leaving ourselves behind
As rheumatoid arthritis sufferers we seem to leave ourselves behind. We focus on the things we have lost. We worry if our friends and family can handle our suffering. We suffer in silence, and many times we suffer alone. If you are anything like me you worry on a daily basis about the burden I feel I have put on my family. I worry about financial responsibility and high price of medications. I feel bad when I have to cancel an outing with my family or plans made with friends. I punish myself for not being normal, for having to ask for help, and if I have a really bad flare day I will punish myself to the extreme for having to make my friends or family do my chores or run my errands. I don't know how many days of my life I have spent worrying about everyone else. I have spent months, and possibly years I'm sure, on punishing myself because I felt that my loved ones were being cheated out of having the life I had always wished for them. But what about me, what about us?
The truth is that it is easier for us to forget about us and focus on what others need. Now I'm not saying that is a bad thing at all, but there is a point where I have to remind myself that I too am deserving of a good life. Now that is so hard for me to write, much less say out loud! I still have to convince myself of this over and over again, even on the good days. But the fact is that having rheumatoid arthritis is NOT our faults. We have not done anything to deserve this. Living with rheumatoid arthritis is not punishment for that time in high school when we "accidentally" spread a nasty rumor. It is not punishment for calling in sick for work, or even for that time when we were little and we stole a peice of candy (although our parent's might tell us differently with a little smirk on their face). This disease, in my experience, seems to have only been given to the strongest of the strong. We are the ones who fight for what's right for those who have been cheated in some way. I don't know about you, but I hate being cheated. The feeling of losing that control is awful. But if anyone or anything has ever cheated me so severely, it would be myself. I cheat myself out of the life that I so completely deserve, and I don't want to do that anymore...do you?
Living a good life
The feeling of living a good life is quite hard to handle at first. You wonder if you are truely deserving of living well, even after all the burdens you have caused to those you love. But here is what I've learned on my mission to stop cheating myself out of living well with this disease, in living the good life....
How to live the good life...
I have decided that I like to smile! It sure looks much better on me than that old, painful, bitter face. I also like to laugh, and I mean alot! I laugh at anything and everything I can, and it is quite possible that I crack only myself up at times. If I am having an extremely good day I will skip with my boys through the grocery store. It may not be as often as I like, but I will definitely do it when I can. If I am having a bad day, then I will use that extra time that I can't use doing anything else to do the little things that make me happy whether it's calling a friend because my hands hurt too bad to write an email, or taking a bubble bath. After all, I deserve it...we all do!
No more cheating ourselves!
So let's not cheat ourselves anymore! Even though our life may never be the same because of our illness, it's still our life and we can choose to enjoy it or spend the rest of it in bed with the covers over our head wishing this disease away and being scared of what this disease may do to us. Let's laugh out loud, I mean REALLY laugh. Let's find some time to love ourselves while we are busy spreading love around us. Let's sing the loudest, dance the silliest and surround ourselves with the happiness we are so deserving of. Now, we will not be able to do this all the time, and there will still be days we feel undeserving of it. Rheumatoid arthritis has cheated us out of far too much already, there is no need for us to cheat ourselves even more! Besides, I think you all deserve a wonderful life full of love and laughter! And if you take the time to look around, and I mean really look around...you will find yourself surrounded by people who think that you are truely amazing and totally deserving of living the best life you could ever imagine living! Best wishes...
Published On: February 19, 2009