Do you have people in your lives who get knocked down by their chronic illness or life in general and then use that experience as if it were a superpower?
I’ve been fortunate to have many role models who do just that. They share the ugly of living with a chronic illness and then POOF! These growth mindset friends find new and innovative ways to become advocates for others. A flare doesn’t keep them down. Instead, it seems that it only sparks new ideas for them on how to enjoy life. Rather than making their health condition a foe, they accept it as a companion, understanding it needs time and attention in order to be calmed. And most importantly, these amazing people in my life discover a part of themselves they never knew existed but is just as wonderful or even better than their pre-chronic illness one.
These resilient people have growth mindsets that remind me during difficult days that I too will survive this time in my life. This doesn’t mean RA and all the complications that come with it are easy, it just means they find a way to turn the negative towards being stronger as a person.
As another flare has worked its way into my life, I find myself using the energy I have absorbed from these wonderful people in my life to find my own superpower – an empathetic heart. As negative words such as “Stupid knee,” enter my mind, I instantly turn the words around, “Okay body, our knee is hurting today. We have to be here for it.” That small change in how I talk to my body instantly relaxes me. It reminds me that my knee is doing its best but needs a little help right now. The pain is its way of letting me know it can’t do it alone. My knee is strong for asking for help from the rest of my body.
The result of changing how I talk to my body? The anger is transformed to appreciation for my body as a whole. I see how we have to work together. I give my knee the break is needs. That’s growth mindset. To me, that’s also a superpower that I have learned from others in our community.
How has a growth mindset helped you through RA flares and life in general?