I'm not proud of this fact, but I will admit it: I've been feeling sorry for myself. With good reason too, by golly. I feel justified in my wallowing. Every time I go to the doctor, I find out I have a new diagnosis of yet another malady; and it's getting old. In the past seven months, since I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, I have been diagnosed with a corneal ulcer, autoimmune inner ear disease (with all the related hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo), Sjorgren's syndrome and now, the newest thing-- synkinesis, which is a result of the damaged nerve, which caused the Bell's Palsy in the first place, not healing properly. It causes the signals from nerve to brain to muscle to misfire, resulting in uncontrollable facial movements. I'm so annoyed, I feel like screaming at...someone or something "WHY ME! Why do I have to keep getting these aliments? What have I done in my life to deserve this lot?" And thus, I have been feeling sorry for myself.
As I was railing against the world yesterday afternoon something struck me. You see, when bad things happen, like illness, job loss, etc. we tend to go down the road of wondering why these things happen to us and we start to lose self esteem and feel sorry for ourselves, wondering what we've done to deserve such bad luck. However, do we conversely feel the need to ask "Why me?" when good things happen to us? When we are in good health, do we wake up every morning and wonder how we got so lucky that we're healthy? When we land a big job, do we wonder at our good fortune? When our kids are behaving themselves, do we sit and bask in the serendipitous track our life has taken? Probably not. Although perhaps have moments when we feel lucky that things are going well, more often than not we either don't think about it at all, or we congratulate ourselves for a job well done; we feel we have earned the good things life has to offer.
Why is this? Why are we programmed to feel deserving when life is going well, and yet to ask 'why me?' when things aren't? I'm not sure why it is; just human nature I suppose. But, even though it may be in our nature to feel these feelings, it doesn't mean we have to give in to them. Sometimes, we need to turn against what we feel like feeling and choose another feeling. Times like now. I can either give in to the feeling of self pity or I can choose to feel blessed at the things I do have. Because truth be told, I don't deserve either one - the good or the bad things in life.
Life isn't about what happens to us, as much as it is about how we react to what happens to us. There are times when things happen that we don't understand and no one says we have to like it, but we do have a choice. The choice is: to make the best of a bad situation or to quit and become bitter and angry. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that carrying around bitterness and anger isn't going to lead to joyfulness.
So today, I will cease wondering why, and start choosing my reaction to what life has brought to my doorstep, because I no more deserve the blessings than I do the curses. I vow to choose thankfulness instead of bitterness; joy instead of anger; hope instead of defeat. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, it may bring more bad news or it might bring a windfall of good fortune, but either way, I know what to do. I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and make a choice.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O LORD, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. ~Psalm 94:18-19
If you missed the first 3 installments:
Bell's Palsy: Part 1
Bell's Palsy and Other Detours: Part 2
Bell's Palsy and Other Detours: Part 3
Let's Face It
Are You Under Any Stress?