I realize this is exceedingly late, as I wrote “Giving Thanks, part one” back at Thanksgiving, and it is now nearly Valentine’s Day, but watch my ninja skills tie the two together.
To me, part of love is also the ability to give appreciation. Most of us are fairly skilled at appreciating other people, but when it comes to rehabilitation and healing, it’s easy to forget the appreciation and love of self.
It is IMPERATIVE (!!! I cannot stress this enough) to your peace of mind, if you are recovering from a major traumatic injury like mine — devastating neurological loss — to remember that you have been through hell and back. If you knew someone else going through what you’ve been through, you wouldn’t dream of comparing them to healthy, “normal” people, would you?
Just like you don’t berate a six-month-old for not yet knowing how to speak, your self-talk has to reflect where you currently are, and it has a ton to do with how good or bad you feel as you recover. Make yourself (and others) understand that the reason you can’t yet do x or y is because you actually can’t, not because you’re doing it on purpose.
Remember that these things take time, and no one, especially you, deserves to get yelled at or be judged for what you haven’t quite yet fought to get back. All major accomplishments took time and effort: Rome wasn’t built in a day.
If you’re guilty of this, please do yourself a favor and try this exercise:
Write yourself a Valentine’s Day love letter. It should address how much you appreciate what your body still can do, and no feat is too small! The body is a magnificent thing, an organism that runs itself 24/7 for you, and you alone! Even if it doesn’t yet do x, doesn’t mean it doesn’t try its best. Apologize to yourself — because it’s not just your body you’ve disrespected, but also your mind, what fuels you — for being too harsh, and tell yourself you love you.
It might sound cheesy, and that’s because it kind of is. But it’s important! So do it.
I just can’t express enough how important it is as a buffer for the inevitable frustration that crops up as a result of trauma and chronic conditions to always be grateful for what you still have.
And for the rest, do the work, and it’s all on its way back to you.
To our healing,