When I was first diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, practicing gratitude was hard. How could I be grateful that I got a chronic, autoimmune disease with no cure? Those of you that know me personally know that I am a Catholic, faith-based woman. I grew up in the Catholic church and actively practice my faith. My relationship with God was strongest when I was in high school. Probably because everything was going great in my life and I had very little obstacles to overcome. Becoming an adult comes with its challenges and you learn that life doesn’t always go the way you planned it.
I often wonder why God would give me this chronic disease. I always do everything by the book, is this some sort of punishment? At first, it did feel like punishment. But as time went on, my perspective changed. I realized that God wouldn’t give me anything I couldn’t handle. He knew I could fight this fight and come out better on the other side. It was all part of His plan for my life. God is now using me as a vessel to share my story and help others with chronic disease and for that I am forever grateful.
I always thought I knew what I wanted my life to look like. Married by twenty-five and kids by thirty. I confined my life story to a timeline and that isn’t really a healthy way of thinking. If I did confine myself to this timeline and didn’t fulfill it, then I would feel like I failed. Being diagnosed with a chronic disease changes your perspective on life and you no longer have a timeline. The most important thing is staying healthy so that someday when the time is right, I can experience those major life events.
My faith journey has by no means been a linear one. Keeping a strong faith requires daily work, but just like life it can be affected by external events – either positive or negative. I am so grateful to have my faith because it has given me a positive outlook on my diagnosis. I have been able to transform from feeling sad and guilty to inspired and motivated. My faith is one of the main reasons I am still here today and (almost!) in remission.
Practicing daily gratitude – whether it be faith-based or not – is essential. It truly changes your perspective and gives you reasons to keep living a great life. I am grateful for my support system of family and friends. I am grateful to have a job where I can work from home. I am grateful to be healthy enough to pursue my Master’s. I am grateful I get to help people through the work I do. I am grateful for the sun, good food, a clean house and so much more! I encourage you to adopt a gratitude journal into your self-care routine. Every morning when you wake up, write down three things that you are grateful for. I promise you will be amazed by the results.
How do you practice daily gratitude?