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“What I Know For Sure” – Chronic Illness Edition … by Ashley Boynes – inspired by Oprah Winfrey

Oprah has taught me a lot of things. She’s one of my idols, and, to me, a prime example of “overcoming” in the face of adversity to truly live your life to its fullest potential.

After writing in since high school (I graduated in 2002) and being on a ticket waiting list for over 2 years, I found out that I’m going to be attending a taping of the Oprah Winfrey Show (one of her last!) on Friday, April 29th.

It goes to show that wishes do come true, and if you can think it &  you can dream it, then you can do it…it may just take some patience and some persistence, but you can get there!

Oprah inspires me in many ways. She recently penned a little essay about “What she knows for sure” in life. I’ll share her list, and then, I’ll share my “chronic illness edition.” 

Oprah’s “What I Know For Sure” – Her All-Time Top 10

1. What you put out comes back all the time, no matter what. (This is her ‘creed’.)

2. YOU DEFINE YOUR OWN LIFE. Don’t let other people or situations write your script. (Couldn’t agree more!)

3. Whatever someone did to you in the past has NO power over you in the present. Only you give it power. (She’s right, as usual.)

4. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. (A lesson Oprah took from the great Maya Angelou.)

5. Worrying is wasted time. Use the same energy for DOING SOMETHING ABOUT whatever worries you. (Amen, Oprah!)

6. What you believe has more power than what you dream, wish, or hope for. You become what you believe. (Beautifully said.)

7. If the only prayer you ever say is “thank you,” then that will be enough. (From German theologian and humanist Meister Eckhart. A side note – we’ve blogged before about the importance of gratitude even when living with health issues.)

8. The happiness you feel is in direct proportion to the love that you GIVE. (A great thing to think about!)

9. Failure is a signpost used to turn you in another direction. (An addition from me? So are any low points in our life – time to change it!)

10. If you make a choice that goes against what everyone else thinks  – so what? The world will not fall apart.

While I wholeheartedly agree with all of Oprah’s musings, I decided to add on to the list and, as I mentioned, make “my” list of “What I Know For Sure” specifically in regards to life with pain and chronic illness.

1. People will never  fully understand. For the most part, there’s always going to be ignorance surrounding your conditions, despite all of our efforts to spread awareness. No one knows what you are going through unless they are going through it, too – and sometimes, even these people – our “brethren” – will not understand our individual circumstances, either. Remember it’s ok if others “don’t get it.”

2. People who are negative, miserable, and pessimistic because of their illness or disability often times – at least, more likely than not – would be negative, miserable, pessimistic people even if they were healthy. Don’t look to “health” to be your golden beacon of happiness. Likewise, people who are strong, optimistic, hopeful, and positive in spite of their illnesses probably would still be that way if they were healthy, too. This I know for sure, because I see it all the time … and there has been scientific research done on this topic.

3. You choose your attitude about any given situation. End of story.

4. Some days, the physical pain is too much to put into words. Sometimes, the emotional burden is just as hard to explain.

5. There will always be people out there who judge you. Either healthy people who think you are faking or want pity, need attention, or talk about your condition too much; or sick people who want to compete with you about, “who has it worse.” Holier than thou people. Fake people. People who “hate on you” for no reason. Yes, these folks do add insult to injury. Try not to let them bring you down.

6. We all have bad days….healthy or not. We all have problems, healthy or not. Be mindful of this.

7. What I know for sure is that for me personally, living with chronic illness has made me both stronger and more compassionate. What has it done for you?

8. Life isn’t over until it’s over. LIVE IT! Enjoy it. Treasure it. Anything can happen at anytime, and wouldn’t you be sorry if you wasted opportunities?

9. I know that everyone needs a friend. Especially those of us who live with chronic illnesses or disabilities. If you don’t have a support system in real life, you always have the Internet. Or, you could join a church, a club, a support group. You need a friend. We all do!

10. What I know for sure is that despite living with so many health problems – some fleeting and acute, and some chronic with no end in sight  – I live a beautiful life. So do many of you, if you take the time to appreciate it.

What do YOU know for sure?

I’d love to hear. Please, leave a comment! And Happy Easter to you all! 🙂

Happy Easter from Arthritis Ashley & the Mid Atlantic AF!

Happy Easter from Arthritis Ashley & the Mid Atlantic AF!

PS: Lupus friends – speaking of Oprah, she recently tweeted that she’s suddenly been getting many requests for a lupus show, but that she won’t have time before her show ends. However, she did show her support and, just by her mention, made millions of people become aware of the condition….a step in the right direction.

Stay well,

Ashley Boynes

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5 thoughts on ““What I Know For Sure” – Chronic Illness Edition … by Ashley Boynes – inspired by Oprah Winfrey

  1. Very well said Ashley. Since I started following you on twitter I’ve spoken of you often to my daughter with SJIA. If she grows up to be the woman you are, I’d be extremely proud of her.

  2. First- I love, and take many lessons from Oprah as well. She’s an inspiration, plain and simple.

    Second- your #2 on your list is the absolute truth.

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