Dealing with ‘Limitations’
“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours. ” – Richard Bach
Reading this I’m sure you’ll agree that we’re all human, unless there’s some alien life form I’m unaware of enjoying my blog. If so, give me a shout out! For the rest of us non-alien life forms, part of being human is being broken. Some of us deal with physical issues from birth. Others acquire them over time. As we age, physical issues arise more often because our bodies will wear out, and none of us are getting out of here alive.
I’m not alone in my struggle with limitations, but it feels that way sometimes. I’m writing this to all of you who have issues that you struggle with.
How to deal with limitations:
Name it and Claim it: Naming the set of problems that I faced became a full-time job. Not because I wanted it to, but because of the severity of the issues. I had to find out what was killing me. After an exhaustive search I finally had a name: Lupus.
Getting a name is both a relief and a burden. You finally know what it is, but knowing how severe it can get is frightening. Once you have a name, it’s up to you who you share it with.
I, for one, felt better just being open about it. I’ve always lived my life in the open and this was no exception. I claimed it. Remember when you hide your problems from others, you rob them of the chance to help. I had overwhelming support. Some support came from unlikely sources. There’s a few people that can be critical and insensitive. Just remember that it’s their issue not yours.
Define a plan of action: I had to wrap my head around what had, and what was going to happen to me because of this disease. I had to carry out some new procedures in my life to protect my health. I read about this disease and asked my healthcare team what I could do about it. Then I had a plan.
Get Perspective: Even changes for the better in the form of a plan can sometimes seem like a burden. Most burdens usually exist in the mind. Another way of looking at modifications to your life as a result of a disease/disability is: Doing what every responsible adult should be doing anyway plus a few extra things. There, the burden is gone and only the habit remains.
Seek Balance: On the one side, you have doctors and others telling you what you cannot do. On the other side, you have dreams, wants, and desires. The first priority, of course, is staying alive. But, just existing is no life at all. So how do you strike a balance between the do’s and don’ts of your particular limitation? Seek balance one day at a time.
The process for me was doing everything the doctors told me so I could get out of “crisis” mode and have a modicum of health. The second step was to strike a balance between feeding my soul and protecting my body. Focus on the small victories and celebrate them. Realize how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go.
Find focus: Focusing on the limitations is defining yourself by the things you cannot do. I felt alone, unusual, crippled, and less-than. With God, no one is less-than. Try focusing on what you can do. Once you do, your goals will expand and your limitations will diminish. You are not your disease/disability.
Living La Vida Loca: I had to realize that just because terrible things can happen doesn’t mean it will happen. My Grandma used to say, “So what if it’s dangerous? You can break your neck falling out of bed in the morning.” I had to put the concerns about my new condition into perspective. That being said, sometimes, you just have to live life and deal with the consequences later, right? Just be aware of the consequences.
Be grateful for what you have and move on: Strange how we’re not saying, “Gee, my lungs work great today! Thank you God!” I never felt grateful for my health until they stopped working. When you’re in a wheelchair, bound to a bed, or otherwise incapacitated, and you recover your health – you are grateful for every breath and every moment.
Ask ‘What’s next?’ Will you strive to live strictly by your limitations, or strive to live a life worth having?
I’ll leave you with words that helped me:
Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Jonson Reagon
Twice in the new testament Jesus says the same thing:
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”Matthew 19:26
- Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Mark 10: 27
These are ways I’ve learned to cope. I still have days that I feel defeated. These are the things that give me strength to start again.