How to Accept, Adapt, Overcome. Choosing the Positive in Any Situation | SMart Choice Lifestyle

We all make choices daily. Between 20 - 40 years old we make the most important decisions for our future in terms of job / career, relationships, family, etc. This is the same time we think of ourselves as being invincible. Or at least that’s what we like to believe. I talk mostly about MS because it’s what I know better, but the following words can be applied to all chronic illnesses.

The truth is that in most cases, life chooses FOR us. It makes us confront situations in which we have to decide what road to take. Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis is one of those moments. You get the feeling that your life is now over, that you no longer have the freedom to choose.

Actually, the real choices are just starting. Now it’s the moment in which you choose if you either give up or keep moving forward. If you choose to fight. And as with any fight, you need a strategy. You need information about the enemy. When you don’t know who and how is attacking, you become physically, mentally and emotionally vulnerable. Now it’s the moment when you have to make the conscious choice of moving forward.

In 2016, on World MS Day, we talked about independence. Although some of us have trouble being on their own two feet, we never lose our ability to choose. Being informed about what MS is, what it can do to you and how to cope with whatever it might throw at you, restores that independence. It has the power to free your mind and transform your life, empowering you to make the lifestyle decisions that can really improve both your health and quality of life.

Know what your options are at any given time. Being informed about that is the real meaning of “knowledge is power” - you can then make choices.

“May your choices reflect your HOPES, not your fears.”

Accept that there are some things that you CAN do and others that you CAN’T (are out of reach). Focus on what you do have and how that helps you go forward and grow as a person.

Accepting illness as chronic doesn’t mean you suddenly become hopeless. Hope is always there. But when associated with the wish of getting back to the state you were BEFORE the diagnosis, things might get tough. Having expectations for something that might not return to its initial state is standing in deep anxiety, blocked and scared waiting. The reality is that you have to make the best of each day with what you have been given.

There is always a way out of things, a way to make them better, a positive turn to things. No matter how bleak the horizon seems, there are always choices that can be made: you can either go on or stop then and there. What choice you make influences the outcome. Not deciding anything is also… a choice. And like any of them, it does have consequences. Choose to grow, to better yourself, to heal.

After suffering a loss of some type, you need to understand that things are never going to be the same again and be OK with that. Things in life are bound to change anyway. We assign so much control to our days, that when some external force takes something away from us, we feel like we lost the compass and our reason to continue living.

Rebelling against faith and being hard headed about wanting things to go back the way they were will get you nowhere. It will only bring frustration, anger and sadness. An experience just changed you. Things aren’t going back.

But you are still here. You’ve been given a second opportunity and a great challenge.

As much as you want to go back, imagine using that same energy to rebuild yourself from scratch. It’s like surviving an earthquake. Let me paint the picture. You seem to have lost it all, and all you have left around are broken pieces. Whatever’s destroyed can no longer be brought back. In that situation you begin to rebuild whichever way you can and go back to living your life sooner or later.

Having lost a part of you, either physically, emotionally or even a loved one has the same effect. You’ve been put down by life’s challenges, but at the same time, you have the pieces from which to rebuild yourself even better than before. You are stronger, you are a survivor of loss, but richer in experience and life lessons. Clean your life of all bad things. Look at what you can learn from all that happened.

After going through hardship, what is the story that you tell yourself about the situation you’re in? How do you describe it? How does it make you feel? What do you feel most insecure about? What would you have done about those insecurities before? What can you do now, given the present conditions? Think of alternate solutions. Plan. Act.

Adapt to your present conditions and decide to only look closer at the positives and what you CAN do, leaving the birds-eye view for the negative ones. Learn which are the best ways that help you cope and get used to your new normals. Life with MS is not a fight. There are always reasons to smile more and rebuild your life from the ground up. That’s when you begin to transform and understand that inside of you there are all the tools that will help you overcome the hardships you’re facing. You just have to choose to look at those tools, pick them up and start using them.

How would you encourage others in a similar situation? What would you teach them? What do they need to do?

Until next time, have a wonderful day!

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