All these times you beat yourself up for not doing something or finishing something or not keeping to a schedule… who made those rules for you? Sure, sometimes it’s a rule you have to follow for work or because something requires it, but most of the time it’s a ridiculous standard we’ve made for ourselves.
As chronic illness warriors, we are guilty of adhering to this standard because we are desperately seeking some form of normality and progress. And the world tells us that to have normality and progress we must have routine and schedules and tidy little boxes for our life.
Except life doesn’t work like that and life as a warrior definitely doesn’t work like that.
Life as a warrior is about compromise, flexibility, the unknown, the unpredictable… and yet we are drawn to create rules for ourselves that are about the definite, inflexible, predictable — the known.
We often create rules for ourselves to control what we know deep down is uncontrollable. Even if, like me, you’re a natural rule breaker and hate structure, we still crave it so much and don’t know why! And it hurts us because it feeds into the “I always fail” narrative, the cycles of sabotage.
But it’s OK, because we can choose to change that at any time. Because we made those rules, we can also change them and break them.
So how can we create structure, some sense of normality, something to hold onto that doesn’t descend into failure and guilt? It’s all about flexibility…
Create optional flexible structures for yourself, think of it as a “choose your adventure” story book where there are a number of options you can take, but you have the freedom and choice to decide what you feel is possible from one day to the next.
We can still make forward progress towards our goals as warriors, whether that’s to start a business, finally clean the spare room or just genuinely make self-care a priority.
And let me say this loudly and clearly: all goals are valid and equal.
What you want is valid. It doesn’t matter that it looks small in comparison to other people’s goals.
It helps to be surrounded by people who know what that’s like.
As warriors, we just have to do things a bit differently, and that’s OK. -Jennifer Ishbel Bell
For more of this article by Jennifer Ishbel Bell, click on the link below.