I’m going through a lot right now. I imagine that’s a fairly relatable opening line.
I’ve been finding myself in a lot of situations, in many aspects of my life, where I just feel like I’m being tested. I dared to ask how could this get any worse and, reader, it just did.
It seems like every time I turn a corner, there’s some big, horrible thing making me feel scared or sad or angry.
And I hate it.
A few nights ago, I was really sick and needed to take my antibiotic. I can’t swallow pills, so I eat the antibiotic crushed up in yogurt.
But I was so sick that just the thought of trying to do this made me want to throw up. I was so angry.
I wanted to give in to the pain and frustration and just scream. Just give up. Not take my medication.
But I knew my body really needed it.
So shaking and sick, I breathed deep and told myself to not be so hateful. I told myself I didn’t have to feel gratitude in that moment if I didn’t want to. Deep down I knew I’m fortunate, to have medicine, water, and food. That even though I felt really sick, that I would get better. What I had was treatable, especially if I did everything I could to properly take care of my body.
But knowing all that still didn’t make me less nauseous. Feeling grateful wasn’t going to get this medicine down my throat.
I did, however, need to calm down. So I just started repeating to myself, Be healing not hateful. Be healing not hateful.
This was the edge I needed to get through taking my medicine. I may have had tears in my eyes but I managed to get it down without throwing up and then I finished taking care of myself without cutting corners.
I know that when times are difficult, it’s comforting to cut corners, not take care of yourself properly. To eke out a little control by saying I really don’t want to do this, so I’m not going to. We know this makes the situation worse. But we do it anyway.
Or maybe it isn’t even that much of a decision. We let ourselves become apathetic and that’s just the way it is.
I decided for myself that apathy is actually hateful. With my chronic health conditions, becoming apathetic about taking care of my body has severe consequences. In my job or relationships, apathy can lead to behavior that I’m not aware of that hurts other people. Apathy can lead to not taking the chance when you need to, not standing up for yourself, letting bad habits puppet you in your life, or prevent you from preparing yourself to be ready for a change or a leveling up in your life.
So I’ve actively tried to combat apathy in my life by making choices. Intentional choices about how to act or respond.
And sometimes I want to choose the hateful. I want to complain or blow up, neglect or avoid, cling to misery just because it’s familiar rather than make a change.
This little phrase in my head, be healing not hateful, is now the reminder in the moment I use to make the better decision. Not the best decision, not the perfect decision. Just the better one.
What this does is physically allow my body to do what it needs to do. To let the pain pass through me, to experience it for what it is, then release it. By fighting it, the pain can get stuck in your body, causing harm long after the incident has passed. The result will be carrying hate and trauma in my body.
This doesn’t mean that I am going to approach every situation with some enthusiastic loving light of acceptance and peace. I’m sick, I’m exhausted, and I don’t have much at all to give. But the healing thing to remember is that I don’t have to give in to screaming or giving up or blaming other people. I can very simply stand up for myself, take care of my body, tell the truth, and keep my accountability. Do something productive every day even if it is very small. Drink some water. Take a shower. Stay calm in a frustrating situation. Not allow other people’s anger or fears to blow me completely off my course.
I’m going through an overwhelming time. So many of us are. But I hold the optimism that we will get through this having learned real and important things about ourselves and the world. And when life is the darkest, when we feel we have hit that rock bottom, we can still choose to lean toward the healing rather than the hating. On the other side, we can be proud of our past selves when we look back.
I won’t stop the fear, sadness, or anger. But I can get through it. So can you.
Sending you more healing, less hating,