If you're living with a chronic illness, you're in the right place.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NHBPM #7: Big Picture

7:37 PM Posted by Stephanie Horgan ,

Just as a warning, today's post is heavier than usual. It is inspired by a funeral I went to recently of a good friend's grandfather, who was a close friend of mine as well. As I listened to the eulogy and the stories about this man, it really put into perspective some of my current struggles and frustrations. This man had overcome obstacles like having polio as a child and watching his wife die of cancer, yet was one of the most positive, loving men I have ever met. The beauty of his eulogy was hearing about not only the good times but the times of struggle he made it through. Throughout it all, he remained hopeful, kind, and committed to all his loved ones. 

At a funeral, everyone hits pause on their life. They stop and pause to honor a life of another human being, and to remember the person who they loved. I noticed that I as I sat in the back of the church service, watching everyone pause from their busy lives, I was touched at how many lives had been impacted by this one person. This one man had touched so many, just as each of us as a chance to impact all those in our lives. What an amazing opportunity and gift, that should not be wasted! 

Life is the ultimate gift. We can't choose what happens to us, or what deck of cards we are dealt, but we can choose how we react and what we tell ourselves about our lives. And this is the basis of cognitive behavioral therapy, which Tiffany and I use frequently in our practice, to help clients live full lives despite their struggles. We spend time asking clients about their thoughts and helping them identify and correct negative patterns, which in turn improves their emotions and behaviors. Whether a client is struggling with depression or a new diagnosis of a chronic illness, having someone to listen and then provide guidance for them is an invaluable tool. When it comes to life, none of us are guaranteed a life without pain, and we all will go through hard things, whether visible or invisible to others. The goal is then not how to avoid the struggle, but how to go through it with grace and wisdom, while asking for help and allowing others to walk with us. 

So next time you are facing something that is holding you back from living a full life, or if you have that feeling of being stuck, I encourage you to reach out. Reach out to your loved ones, reach out to a professional and pursue the life of your dreams. I will leave you with a quote, to inspire those on this night of deep thought. (And I promise the future posts won't be this heavy!)

The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. - Pierre de Courbertin