Are you bitter or better?

What if today you choose to look at your situation a little differently? I know it can be hard to see past the pain, suffering and diagnosis; but you have a choice even when it seems out of your control. You have a choice in how you are going to react to your pain, suffering, diagnosis, surgery, hurdles, battles, and heartache. You can choose to be bitter or better.

When I was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 19, I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t understand it. I was in the best shape of my life and ready to take on the world. I was angry that it stole away the goals that I was working so hard for at the time. I found myself getting bitter about my Crohn’s diagnosis and all the ugly stuff that came along with it. I didn’t like how that made me feel, it wasn’t me. I was allowing my diagnosis to redefine me. Well…from that point on I decided Crohn’s would never define me or my goals. I was going to allow Crohn’s to make me better not bitter. It did not happen overnight and I constantly work on my attitude and outlook on life to this day. When I have a negative thought about how Crohn’s is affecting me, I stop myself and think of something positive about the situation that I’m in. I have days when I’m frustrated because I’m exhausted for no absolute reason, or battling a blockage, going on my 3rd bag leak of the day, aching joints, missed plans, stomach pains, soiled clothes, or wondering if it’s time to go to the hospital. It’s in these frustrating moments when your thoughts are going to determine your opportunities for growth or destruction. You have an opportunity to help others even when you’re in the midst of your suffering.

Just think about this

What if the next time you go to the doctor and you’re in the waiting room you get rid of that bitter attitude and ask yourself this question… Who am I here for today? Your challenging health issues are not just about you, they are about other people too. Guess what? There might be someone in the waiting room that day that was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, or scared that they are about to have surgery and you’ve already been down that road. You might be just the person they need to see that day, but if your bitter, you are going to miss out on the opportunity to meet a really awesome person.

What if the next time you go to the hospital. You ask yourself….Who am I here for? There might be a nurse that has been pooped on, thrown up on, cussed at, and spit on right before they came to your room. Could you be the only light they see that day, despite the pain you’re in? Maybe you could choose to be better that day, so that you can remind them of why they chose to be a nurse in the first place?

It’s easy to fall into a trap of constantly feeling like you have to explain to people that you are not well despite how “good you may look” on the outside, but your job isn’t to make people realize how sick you are and how bad you have it. Your job is to inspire, encourage, educate, and lift others up, because you choose to let your challenges make you a better person. Crohn’s or any challenge in life can be a gift, if you let it be. I cherish my gift and all that it has taught me over the years. So I leave you with these questions…Has your situation left you bitter or better? What are you going to do about it?

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