I started writing an ethical will for my three sons a couple of years ago.
I’ve never finished it because I have so much I want to tell them. I just don’t know where to stop.
An ethical will is a way to tell your loved ones your values, blessings, life lessons, hopes, and dreams for the future. It’s simple really.
It can actually be about anything you feel is valuable information to pass down to the next generation, and you do not have to wait to die to pass it on to your family members.
You can give them a copy at any time for any reason, or no reason at all.
It is not a legal document of any kind. It’s just thoughts and things you want to share.
Don’t we all have times when we wish we had one more moment in time to tell that special person something that we value deeply?
Here is just a tiny sampling of things I have written in my ethical will of words of wisdom I want to pass on to my children.
Life is hard no matter what path you go down.
The people beside you are hurting in some way just like you.
That’s just reality.
EVERYTHING depends on how YOU react to it.
You can try to find positive instead of looking for the negative.
It’s harder work, but it pays off with dividends: Joy.
I guarantee you’ll have joy if you learn to ride the wave instead of drowning in the wave.
Much Love and Many Prayers,
JULY Chronic Pain Support Group Update:
I am waiting on the final go ahead from the community agency that is allowing me to lead a chronic pain support group at their facility locally.
I will now be making the flyers and cards to give out at doctor’s offices locally and to put up around town.
The dream is slowly coming together. I want to thank everyone that is supporting and encouraging me; specifically, my hubby. This is probably one of the craziest ideas I’ve ever thrown at him but he has never lost a step right beside me. Always & Forever.
Help My Mission of helping others live the best life they can with chronic pain.
Photo Credit (I could not bring myself to crop the photo – the colors were too awesome- so it is too large but beautiful) by Paul Larkin on Unsplash
I pretty much disconnected this past week because I was on steroids. Medications like that affect me strongly in a negative way, but everyone is different. My pain level had gotten high enough that I was willing to go through the week-long regimen. I had been talking about doing it for a few months, but because of how it affects me so powerfully, I dreaded it. I guess I should be thankful that it is still an option sometimes instead of having no options at all.
With these types of medicines, for me, my logical brain goes on vacation, and my emotional brain goes to high-stepping workaholic wonderland. Except there is nothing wonderful about it. Significant anxiety and wide mood swings of depression and despair are what I experience intensely along with the physical side effects.
My poor hubby. He has been through many steroid hell weeks because of the many steroid shots and pills for the chronic back and leg pain I have needed over the past ten years. Usually, I become a mean ogre with a short fuse, but this time there was crying– lots of crying. I cried about everything.
My hubby may not always understand what crazy emotional or physical side effects that some medicines cause in me, but I can say he tries to get it if I will explain to him what is going on in my head. This week, he just rode the wave with me.
He could have quickly gotten relief from my medication-induced distress when I started saying I was going to stop taking the pills after the initial injection and only one day of pills. I was just so miserable. He helped me through the thought process, which I know should have been obvious, and thankfully, I am on the other side of this experience.
Although I have a choice on how I view my chronic pain, I don’t have an option to not go through pain every day, so I just do what I have to do. My hubby did not sign up for this, but just as he helped me stay committed to the steroids, he commits to me every day regardless of my circumstances with pain.
Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some issues while adjusting to my new normal, but we are stronger because of the struggle. Our bond is tighter due to me having chronic pain because it has made us both look beyond ourselves and find out what commitment literally means. It is an effort that we make every day for each other.
So every day, when the sun comes up, hubby and I get a fresh start if we failed each other yesterday. We get to try again with each day building on the next. That’s how we have made it this far. That’s what unconditional love means to me.
The month of February is all things pink and lovely, isn’t it? Either you love all the valentine day hoopla, or you don’t.
I think it is all a bit negative. All the buzz leaves us to believe we must be partnered with another person for our life to mean something.
If you are not married or if you haven’t found “the one,” you might focus on the fact that you are single at this time of year.
I know I felt that way when February rolled around, and I was a single person. I especially became down when I was a single mom of three small boys, and the pink banners, cards, and candies began popping up in the stores in January. I thought no one would ever want me because I had apparently failed the first time. Valentine’s Day was a reminder of my failures with a one-two punch; I was single, and I had failed the first time. My perception of myself was low at that time, and it wasn’t healthy to feel that way about myself. I’ve changed some of those thoughts, but I find it is a daily struggle fighting off the negative feelings.
What can we do to change this negative perception that we have in our head about ourselves?
Let’s start by learning to love yourself. Make this time about taking care of you. This means spending the amount of time you need to recharge your batteries, instead of running them all way down until you fall over entirely. If you take time for yourself, you have more to offer other people.
SOME WAYS TO LOVE YOURSELF:
1. Stop the inner critic from speaking in your ear. This one is a big one and hard to do because you cannot get away from your inner voice. You have to retrain that voice. There are many ways to do that, and here are just a few:
Develop an awareness of your thoughts. You can’t change what you don’t notice yourself doing so start being mindful of what your inner critic is saying to you. Most of the time, it is entirely out of proportion so challenge the thought if it is negative.
Stop beating yourself up.When you make a mistake, admit it and move on. Worrying about it will never change it. This has helped me tremendously. I know that my intentions are good but sometimes, the things we say or the things we do, go wrong. Talk to people and explain, apologize, or do whatever you need to do to move on. Then, move on.
Treat yourself with compassion.With our chronic illnesses, we need to be very diligent about our health. I believe that it is essential to have a caring and an empathetic view of ourselves. This includes forgiving yourself and your body.
2. Learn to say “no.” Another way to show yourself some love is to learn to tell other people no. Have you ever been asked to do something and inside you are screaming no, but your lips have the nerve to say the word, yes?! I have trouble with this one also, but I have been doing better. I never want people to think I am lazy so I always feel judged by the “lazy” compass if I say no when I am in pain.
Conflict causes pain, especially, in couples. Here’s the link to an interesting pain study from Rush University, Chicago, about how conflict and criticism from your spouse could be leading to increased pain. I will be doing more posts about cortisol in the future because I believe it has a significant impact on chronic pain.
Learning to say no without guilt is hard. It is something that I am learning to do. If you find yourself angry when you are doing something for someone else, and you are not doing it in love, you have probably guilted yourself into doing it. That’s people pleasing. Know your limits and speak honestly. We do better physically when we are tactfully honest.
The other side is if you tell the other person no, and they try to manipulate you with guilt, then you need to look at that relationship and determine how it is helping you or if that connection is hurting you more during your chronic pain journey.
3. Surround yourself with lots of positive people. If you feel alone, even if you are with people, and struggle to face the day, then you have some work to do. YOU need to seek out and find encouraging people to be in your everyday life.
You know that laughter is good medicine so use it every day. I know you have valid issues that might hold you back from leaving your house. There are so many groups online where you can find encouragement. The beauty of it is that you can do it from your bed if you are disabled. I have met some beautiful people from doing this blog and chronic pain advocacy. I have had courageous people send me their chronic pain journeys, and I am finding real hope in their words.
Another benefit of surrounding yourself with people is that you can learn new coping techniques from others. Nobody has perfect days every day. That’s why we lean on others and learn from them. You can help others when you share your story by being the inspiration someone else might need.
4. Spend time resting with Jesus.You are not alone in this world. God wants a relationship with us. It’s what He created us for. In this verse, Jesus understands how tired you are, and He invites us “to get some rest” in Mark 6:31. I encourage spending time reading and meditating on God’s word and praying to recharge your batteries.
31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,(A) he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Sometimes, we all need reminders about the importance of self-care and February is a great month to examine your relationship with yourself.
The Mighty is doing a self-love campaign during February to help you. Here’s the link to the campaign and the article explaining The Mighty’s challenge. Download and print the self-love planner here. Download and print the self-love cheat sheet here. These freebies will guide you in the beginning. The key to lasting change is repetition.
I hope taking these baby steps this February will lead you down the path of self-acceptance and self-love the rest of the year.
If there is any way I can help with encouragement or information about resources, please comment below or go here.
And, as for my current upcoming Valentine’s Day, I will be spending it with my hubby going out to one of our favorite restaurants on the weekend to celebrate. I did eventually find my prince that would stick with me through thick and thin.
Begin loving yourself, and you will attract the right people in your life. Self-love sets the stage for every relationship you have with others; whether it is a platonic or a romantic relationship.When you respect and love yourself, other people notice and know that you expect nothing less from them.