IBD Awareness

Living With Gratitude

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.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

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?

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