Although those in my life know who I am (my history, ethics, values, etc.) so I feel safe and respected and most everyone I encounter treats me the same way, on occasion I interact with someone who is clearly ignorant of what it is like to have a chronic illness – particularly one that can be invisible so much of the time.
What is interesting is when asked to explain my situation, I am interrupted and arbitrarily told I need to be positive – not to send negative thoughts into the world. These individuals become instantly agitated because they are living within a façade of ongoing and everlasting health and well-being so my bringing up illness reminds them of their fragility – something they do not want to even ponder.
The funny thing about this is that I have consistently, since the 1970s, been professing the power of having a positive attitude. I’ve not been doing because I expect it will somehow cure me of a health issue I was born with, but because being positive changes how we see and, therefore, deal with the world. From the mid to late 1970s I was doing a lot of television, radio, and public speaking on the subject. Not one host, call-in listener, or audience member confronted me with the idea that because of my positive message, I should be cured. The consistent response was one of thanking me for reminding them it is possible to remain hopeful, optimistic, and proactive even when living with an incurable health condition. And, frankly, this was the intended message.
So, for those living with a chronic illness, please be patient with those who move from love to fear when you are attempting to be honest about your situation. Do not bother attempting to validate yourself for anyone. Do the best you are able to live your life fully with love, joy, and kindness. We are a manifestation of what they truly fear so they are not ready to listen. As a wise person once said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Copyright 2015 Lynn Borenius Brown