If you read this blog, then you probably have noticed that I follow a lot of business leaders, motivational speakers, and more to get my inspiration from. Some might find it weird that I find so many parallels between their advice or lifestyle to chronic illness. When you break down what they say and adapt it to a life with chronic illness, there are valuable lessons to be learned.
The most recent lesson I’ve learned and now reflecting on is about expectations. The expectations we all have for our lives at a young age, and comparing them to the journey we’re truly on in the present.
I don’t know about you, but I never thought I would have lived through so much and still be able to say I’m young? Only 37, that’s not old is it? I feel old at times. Okay, back on track. It’s easy to look back at the expectations we had. I’m thinking about some very natural expectations I had. Here is one that some might be able to relate to.
When I gradutated from high school I couldn’t wait to start the next chapter of my life. Yes, I had Crohn’s at this time and was starting to take it more seriously, but I had no idea what was ahead? I went into my freshmen year with various expectations, but getting sick wasn’t one of them. Then, at the start of my second semester, I began to have rectal abcesses and fistulas. If you know how bad these things are, you know they don’t fall into anyone’s expectations in life.
I’ll share another. I had expectations in life leading up to my ostomy surgery. I battled for two years from age 26-28 before making the decision to get a stoma. A major reason was the natural thought about how an ostomy would impact relationships and if I would ever find a partner who would love me? But I’m happy to report that expectation was completely wrong. Got you there.
The reality is, expectations rarely come true. They will rarely align with real life is like. Expectations in most long-term circumstances in life will leave with with a wide variety of negative emotions ranging from anger, sadness, restement, envy, and more. So what do we do?
We need to change the way we think. We need to realize that expectations might not be the best train of thought for us, especially with so many variables in our lives.
What are some ways you might reframe your mindset to navigate the reality of life vs. the expectations of life with a chronic illness? I personally am going to try to balance my thoughts more and become more at peace with what I have, be grateful for the experiences that I’ve been through, and what I can do in the future to make sure I’m not setting myself up for mental failure.