I lost a close family member at the start of the year, and the last thing he said to me was “be good”. I know he meant it in a general sense, but I’ve decided to take something from it in terms of my M.E and other health conditions. Let me explain –
There’s an awful lot about my day to day life that I have no control over. I don’t control how much I can accomplish in a day, if I can leave my house, wash my hair etc. But what I will always remain in control of is my ability to be a good person. M.E can’t touch that. You don’t need to complete extravagant acts of kindness in order to be a good person. Don’t get me wrong, those acts are amazing – but let’s be honest they take up energy that you may not have to spare. You can still be a good person from the confines of your house or even your bed. As long as you’re trying your best not to cause harm or upset to others, that’s all that matters. If you’ve found this blog I’m guessing you’re part of an online community for those with chronic health conditions. You’re providing support to people you’ve probably never even met and that makes you a good person. Sending a text to someone letting them know you’re thinking of them – that counts too. Fighting your own battles day in day out to make your family proud – that makes you a good person. You’re already doing these things, you’re maybe just not even aware of their importance.
It’s easy to convince yourself you’re not enough because you can’t do what you once could. But you’re a whole person regardless of that, and I’m willing to bet you’re probably a good one. Chronic illness is difficult and complicated, but it’s made me nicer. I’m now more compassionate, understanding and filled with gratitude. I don’t take a single thing for granted, and I actively appreciate everything I can do and everything I have. That’s my way of being good.
It’s difficult not to be self-critical when you’re a type A perfectionist who is very rarely satisfied with their achievements. But from now on I’d like to change my way of thinking. From now on I’ll think to myself -
“Be good, start there”
I choose each day to be a nice human, I make conscious decisions to be kind to others and appreciate what is around me. If that’s all I can manage in a day, then that’s enough. Anything I achieve on top of “being good” is a bonus, and from now on I’m going to try to see it as such. My day has been worth something if I’ve been good, regardless of whether I managed to get that college work done or even leave my house. And your day is the exact same. As long as you’re trying to be nice to people, you’re doing a good job. It might not feel like it, it might feel like you’re missing out on a lot, but I promise your day is still worth something. And so are you.
Regardless of the curve balls life has thrown at me - I’m going to continue to strive to be a good person day in day out, and I think that would make him proud of me.