“This too shall pass,” was once the evergreen motto that got me through, but as things have become much, much slower to pass, if at all, I’ve tried to look for a substitute to latch onto only to find myself lost in an ocean of silver linings and rose smelling versions of ‘chin up’. Or slapped in the face with the motivational quip tucked into everyone’s repertoire, ‘You have nothing without your health’ or better yet ‘Your health is your wealth’.
Inspirational, quotes, mantras, motivational mottos and affirmations have their place in providing us with a way to refocus to the present or the positive, give hope, perspective courage or peace. If utilised at the right time they can be transformative. But on the bad days, words of wisdom need a little more lived experience of chronic conditions, a little more ME/CFS context to the grand aspirational proclamations.
It is true that you need to find the small things and the small moments that can transport you, like the beautiful cloud, moon, breeze or soft pillow. But it’s also about what it takes to survive outside those moments, when it’s hard to lift your head off the soft pillow. Most of the extremely popular self-help and positive thinking resources are based on the premise that anything is possible e.g.
If you believe it will work out you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t you will see obstacles. Wayne Dyer.
The perfect world is created as the mind is free enough to see it. Byron Katie.
Imagine your life the way you want it to be . The Secret.
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you. John de
If you are facing in the right direction all you need to do is keep on walking. The Buddha
Obviously I get what they are going for with this but there are immovable obstacles in your path that come with chronic conditions. They don’t disappear with positive thinking. Most people are doing their best to refocus so their symptoms aren’t all they can see, feel or think about. But conversely it’s not beneficial for them to be unseen, unfelt and unrecognised.
There are still a few oldies but goodies, the list below is a bit of a potpourri of themes and they aren’t particularly deep and meaningful but I find each has helped at different times with radical acceptance that it’s a shit day, don’t try to pretend otherwise:-
Breathing in, I see myself as still water. Breathing out, I reflect things as they are. Thich nhat hanh
Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. Peme Chodron.
I came to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail. Adrienne Rich
The wound is the place where the light enters you. Rumi
The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. Ernest Hemmingway
Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle. Plato
I will not allow anyone to walk though my mind with dirty feet. Mahatma Gandhi.
Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go. Hermann Hesse.
If you’re going through hell, keep going. Winston Churchill.
When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
That hardest thing is this life is to live in it. Be brave. Live. Buffy Summers. (If you know, you know)
Comparison is the thief of joy. Theodore Roosevelt
Sometimes the healing is in the aching.
Obviously, all this is a quest for some magical abracadabra type words that make it all seem endurable, when possibly and annoyingly the most helpful words of wisdom (for me at least) for getting through ME/CFS is:-
Be kind to yourself.
I have one last one to offer that has weirdly helped on the days when you have small packets of energy but need to not overdo it. It requires that you imagine a really cute donkey when you say it.
You’re like a donkey, you just keep plodding.
Feel free to comment on or share any of the other million quotes and affirmations that help a little, a lot or not at all.
*Please forgive errors in accuracy and the unattributed quotes. I’ll try to add in sources where possible.
Image Credit: https://www.pinterest.com.au/johnnowicki/for-the-home/