In this series, I have addressed the most common challenges to our sense of well-being. I had in mind the notion that we have a say in how we manage our daily life in more ways than meet the eye. While many of us are faced with various degrees of health issues, we can still be empowered to look within for ways to stay peaceful and calm throughout a difficult journey. I’m the first to admit that this is not something instantly achieved; it takes practice and patience but it can be done.
I hope you experiment with all ten parts and learn what works best for you when the going gets tough.
How do you tame a Dragon?
One step at a time!
Real problem #10: Dependence
When the term dependence is used, we usually think of addiction. For example, one can be dependent on drugs to relieve chronic pain or anxiety but that does not necessarily make one an addict. It is when people become dependent on their job, their opinions or their lifestyle that they are thrown off-balance and distressed when these are disregarded or taken away.
Because of serious chronic illness we, sooner or later, are dependent on people for practical help; that’s a given. But when our relationships with friends and family are damaged because of an emotional dependence, when we need so badly that we forget to simply love people for who they are, unrealistic expectations arise and we often get hurt. The fact is that as much as we live in isolation and pain, even the people who love us have a life of their own and we are not always on their radar.
Dragon taming step #10: Take a Break
It is with good reason that our life is centered around illness (the Dragon) and all the symptoms that weigh so heavily on our body and our heart. We are not being selfish when we make our health a priority and we have no reason for feeling guilty when we ask for help; we’re doing the best we can with a tremendously challenging lifestyle that leaves little to no room for frivolity.
With that in mind, I submit to you that from time to time, it really would be beneficial to switch things around. How about – if only in your imagination – walking a mile in someone else’s shoes? Thinking about a loved one’s own struggles to make a good life for themselves allows us to take a vacation from our sorrows and fill our heart with understanding compassion. Are they going on a trip? Go with them in spirit and rejoice in their good fortune!
Another way to shake dependence is to change our habits or modify our daily schedule. I used to take a 10-minute walk with my dog after my afternoon nap. I realized it was becoming a chore, so I decided to take her out before napping although my energy level is lower. Turns out I feel more relaxed that way; I take deep breaths and enjoy being outdoors so that when I get to bed, I have a feeling of satisfaction.
Without noticing at first, habits can enslave us to the point of feeling depressed. Many of us already have a very limited view of the outside world and it is no surprise when cabin fever sets in. Our social interactions may be limited to social media – as wonderful as it is to have friends there – but we greatly benefit in so many ways from actual contacts with other humans. Instead of letting habits and traditions imprison us, why not use them to free ourselves ?
Each summer, a couple of old friends of mine drive a fair distance to meet up in a restaurant for breakfast. We usually met at 9:30 and had a good time. But this year, I just couldn’t do it. The idea of getting dressed early and sitting in a restaurant for an hour or so was too much for me. I recently decided to tell them that next time they’re up in my neck of the woods, they could simply call and drop by for a cup of Tea. If I’m lying down on the couch in my pajamas, who cares? I don’t have to be a “hostess”; they can even make their own cup of Tea! I get to see my friends and that’s what matters.
One step at a time, a little tweak here and there, and we can begin to let those little changes make life sweeter. Getting through the day is a struggle; we know better than anyone that we deserve to be gentle and kind to our self.
See you on the path of healing and beyond,
I am the author of the self-help memoir:
Higher Maintenance, Managing the Dragon that is Chronic Illness – Transcending Limiting Beliefs – And Finding Happiness in the Moment
To read an excerpt and reviews, as well as order the book from your favorite vendors, please visit mariannegranger.com
For your convenience, my blogs are in audio on my website!