I recently bought a book entitled, “A Place of Yes” and, though I’ve yet to start reading it, I realized last week before even purchasing it that I am in a place of “yes” myself.
I’ve learned to “just say yes” despite arthritis and other chronic ailments.
After all, we only live once….so why not LIVE?
I am not here to preach a religious agenda, but I will say that the recent worship series at my church has been about “thriving” in life, and not simply “surviving.”
I strive to thrive, and not just survive!
So, this weekend, I went out for a friend’s birthday despite being extremely fatigued. I went to brunch with girlfriends despite being in a severe RA flare. Yesterday, I did the elliptical….even though my hands and elbow were saying, “no” … I SAID YES. Why? Because I COULD. My hands and elbow may not have been cooperating, but my legs were, and so I said yes – and felt great for doing so.
Just because we have RA (or whatever condition you face) does not mean we couldn’t, or shouldn’t, continue to live our lives and do what we please. It may “seem” like we “can’t” … but most of the time, we CAN. It’s a matter of will, and what we want to do.
Yes, when you’re in extreme pain, the prospect of meeting up with friends or going to work may sound impossible….and some days, it may be. But, challenge yourself to say “yes” more often. Most days, it IS possible, bearable, and, even – dare I say it – fun! Do not overdo it by any means, but say yes, and you may find yourself enjoying life a little bit more, despite your illness. You may not always be able to say yes to everything, but, you can say yes to some things…and, as you’ll find, most things.
Your “yes” may not be the way you’d like it to be. You may be able to meet up with friends but have to go home early. But, you still said yes, and, chances are, enjoyed yourself. You may not be able to work full-time anymore….but, you could say yes to volunteer work, part-time, or freelance projects. You may not be able to physically donate your time to a cause….but, you could say yes to being an e-advocate or volunteering in some virtual sense. You may have to say no to joining a sports team, but, you can exercise in your own way — maybe it’s jogging, but maybe it’s just stretching — and that’s ok, because you still said yes to SOMETHING.
You only live once. This isn’t a dress rehearsal or a practice round. People always make comments to me how they are “amazed by all I do” and that I’m “super-human” or, in some way, inspiring or unbelievable. I don’t think so. I think I just choose to say yes, and, by doing so, it multiplies my opportunities, giving me even more to say yes to and to be grateful for. It doesn’t mean that I am not as sick as you, or not in as much pain, but it does mean that I choose to disallow that to take over my life.
So, even if you are feeling sub-par, say yes to taking a walk with your significant other. Even if your hands are sore, say yes to attending a movie with an old friend — after all, you can be in pain at home (and likely miserable) or you can be in pain in the company of someone you enjoy. I’d sure say yes to that!
Don’t be afraid – living your life in fear of being too tired, too sore, not able to do something. You’re able to do a lot of things if you open your mind and adapt. So say yes to a new way of thinking – and watch your life flourish in front of your eyes….regardless of whatever condition, chronic illness, or disability you are living with.
Thanks for reading – and please, “say yes” to sharing with others and leaving a comment 😉
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Thank you Ashley for your story!
Very well said. I agree with you . We cant let our illness hold us back from enjoying our lives. Happy Easter to you and your family Ashley and all the wonderful people at the Arthritis Foundation.
This is def one of my most favorite posts! So well written and so spot on….you rock x’s 10000000 for all you do! ❤ you!
Agreed! I always think, I can be in pain, at home & alone, or out where people are and life is happening.
Ashley, I really enjoyed this post. Even with your challenges, you exude the positive outlook we all should exhibit every day. Despite how awful I’m feeling, I try and do something, whether that’s exercising or hanging out with friends, because the worst thing for me to do would be to sit at home having a pity party for myself! What a great reminder and kudos to you for such a great post! You rock!
Ashley, You are an amazingly strong woman. I love your attitude!