Monday, August 1, 2016

Pick your battles

Around the time that Adam and I were married, we were eating a meal with my parents, Adam said something.  While my mouth was open to react, my mom gently touched my hand and whispered "pick your battles."   Lot of people gave me very similar advice with different words and different circumstances before our wedding.  But that phrase stuck with me, the idea that I would be spending the rest of my life with this person and I probably didn't want to fight about something insignificant.   To respond to situations, instead of reacting from a place of defense.  

Of course that is all easier said then done.  Adam and I have had some stupid fights about stupid things over the years, however there are also plenty of moments where I remember my mom's advice and drop something, handle it myself or just move on to a new topic.  

I was recently reading an article written by someone learning to life the life she wants with a chronic illness.  She was talking about lessons she learned.  One them was to learn to pick your battles, she talked about how she learned the importance of advocating for yourself, education yourself and going in and asking your doctor about random treatments you found on the Internet.  That you are the only one that knows your internal experience, and the doctors cannot help you if you aren't honest and learning for yourself.  

This weekend I saw that idea in a different light.  I am learning to pick my battles with myself.  I am learning to listen to my body and really trying to learn when it is okay to push it and when it is not okay to push it.   Because the world does not stop turning when I have a flare, and a lot of times I am guessing at decisions.  I am trying to listen to my body and predict how certain things might affect me. In reality I have no idea.   

Adam and I had plans to go out of town to visit with some of my favorite people in the entire world, and Thursday I messaged my friend and told her I didn't think I could do it.  I have been dealing with a stubborn flare for a while now, and on one hand I have been able to do more then I usually can when I flare.  However I pushed it a couple of times and ended up doubled up in my car screaming and crying with spasms.  I didn't want to everyone to drive to get together and me just have to spend the weekend in the room.  

So what do you do when you want to do something, and you feel like it would hurt you to do it?  What do you do when simply traveling to go see someone, leaves you exhausted?  I have no idea.  In this case I asked my friend how big a deal it would be to cancel, hotel reservations and such were involved. I started gathering information so that I could make a better decision.  

RIght now it is not worth battling my body and it's needs when it is hurting.   Right now it is not worth pushing it, because the stakes are even higher then marriage.  I get to live in this body for my life and I want it to be a full and enjoyable life, so I get to listen and learn what I need.  I get to learn to ask for things, to speak up when things are uncomfortable, and to feel the heartbreak of not getting to do what I want.   I was taught if you want something enough you can make it happen.  I still believe that, truly I do; the time scale is not what I thought it was and that is what I get to accept right now.  Things happen in their own time, so listen and act when the time is right.  

"Pick your battles", not only with those in your life but with yourself.   My body is not broken, I am not fighting a disease, I am listening to my body and learning ever so slowly.  I wish you all someone in your life that reminds you things happen, that you are doing your best and that you are worth patience. I forget, and it is like coming home when someone reminds me sincerely and gently.    

Question of the day: Do you need to be reminded today that you are doing your best?  Can you ask someone to remind you or can you be that light for someone else that is struggling today?  Everyone is in a storm at any point in their lives, be kind and be kind to yourself.  It is okay to ask for that comfort, it is okay to listen to that need.  

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