I talked with a friend who has long-covid and she mentioned that she doesn’t feel so useful anymore.
We have infinite worth and value independent of what we can do in the world. Just by being, we have that infinite value.
And having a chronic or serious illness can help us learn and see things that can be infinitely valuable to ourselves, those close to us, and society as a whole. We are in a unique position to learn and discover certain things.
WHAT WE MAY DISCOVER FROM LIVING WITH CHRONIC OR SERIOUS ILLNESS
We may discover the importance in asking for help, and asking so others feel free to answer from an authentic yes or no.
We may discover the gift in allowing others to give. By asking for help, we allow others to give, and that can help them feel valuable. (If they do it from an honest yes.)
We may discover our intrinsic interdependence. Our human life wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the lives of innumerable other humans and other beings, living now and in the past.
We may discover our own authentic yes and no, and find freedom in giving our yes or no.
We may find a more honest and authentic way of being with ourselves and living our life.
We may be more honest and vulnerable with those around us.
We may find the value in rest and taking care of ourselves.
We may find the value and richness in a simple life.
We may find a high quality of life within our current limitations.
We may discover that what we thought were our limitations are not.
And then some more….
We can identify and examine old identifies and beliefs that don’t fit anymore. We may have put our worth on what we could do, and when we can’t be as active anymore, where is our worth? Can I find value, worth, and meaning in my life as it is now?
We may turn to something beyond our human self. We may find a sense of belonging with family and friends, and nature and even all of existence. We may engage in different forms of spiritual practice.
We may find a more kind way of relating to ourselves, our experiences, and life. We may shift out of struggle and into befriending our experiences and life. (And that can mean we relate with more kindness to people in our life as well.)
None of this is inevitable. A lasting challenging situation can bring us deeper into struggle, grief, anger, resentment, blame, and so on, if that’s the direction we go. And we probably will go into some or all of that at different times in the process. That’s not wrong. It’s understandable and innocent. And through that struggle, we may see the consequences of that approach and that it doesn’t give us what we really want.
We may find there is another way. And if we live with a chronic or serious illness, or another limiting situation, there is an invitation there. An invitation for each of us to discover a more kind way, which may include some of the things listed here.
CHALLENING SITUATIONS AS A LABORATORY FOR HUMANITY
A chronic or serious illness, or other lasting challenging situations, is a laboratory for ourselves, as outlined above.
And it is, in a very real sense, a laboratory for humanity.
When we humans are in these situations, what do we discover? What insights can come from finding ourselves in this unique position? How can these insights help humanity as a whole?
MY OWN EXPERIENCE
I live with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and have had Lyme disease, so life put me in a situation where I was invited to discover this.
I have struggled, still do at times, and I have parts of me ready to engage in struggle at a moments notice.
At the same time, there is another part of me that wants to find a more kind way, and I explore that because it feels better.
Note: I am sharing what I discover on this website, so I am passing on my discoveries to humanity – at least to those who happen to find these articles. And I can also be better at asking for help. This blog costs money to maintain, and I have limited income due to my chronic illness, so if it gives you joy, donations are very welcome and received with gratitude. Use the link or the yellow donation button to the right. Thank you!