When life throws us curveballs, lemons or whatever metaphor you want to attach to it; we tend to internalize, feel some sort of blame, or question what we must have done wrong. Many of us, myself included, often say WHY ME? Why has the universe conspired against me to cause this negative thing to happen? We also tend to attach ‘why’ to a lot of other outcomes in this life that do not benefit us. Like, why him, or why her? We often do this when other people find success and we are still swimming in this ocean of life, arms flailing, and opportunities just not presenting themselves.
Thoughts of why me are natural when bad things happen to us. This is especially true when we, as well as those around us, believe we are truly good people. Why is something bad happening when we lead our lives with such integrity and good intentions?
Take me for example; when I was diagnosed with Scleroderma my first reaction aside from crying and becoming depressed, was asking, why me. Why did GOD or whatever great omnipotent being decided this were my fate? This obstacle, curveball or lemon came hurling at me that April morning—and it hit me hard. The why me’s kept flowing day and night. I guess it is human nature when we have some form of bad news. We go right to the most negative aspect of it and sink into some form of depression.
Now, please keep in mind, I never said why me and then tried to wish this on my enemy or anyone else for that matter. Nope, it was just about me. As in why did Scleroderma have to come into my life? Why did life drop a 500-pound brick on to my lap? What was the universe telling me? Maybe it was a sign that I needed to slow down, time to stop burning the candle at both ends, stop leading a dual career life, stop getting only 4-5 hours of sleep, stop always wanting [and sometimes very often eating] pizza, just STOP. Sometimes I truly believe challenges come to us not just as that, but rather as opportunities. These opportunities are presented in a way to motivate us to rise above and be greater than one previously could ever imagine. They are presented to us as an opportunity to be the best version of us that we can be. To showcase who we really are right down to our very core and essence of our being.
We all have our battles, struggles, and demons. But what makes my struggle any different than yours? NOTHING. My plight is no different than yours. Whatever ails you, whatever disease afflicts you, whatever parent, sibling or friend is sick, maybe you lost your job, maybe your loved one just broke up with you—whatever it is; that does not make my situation any worse than yours. My struggle is my struggle, and your struggle is your struggle. How I chose to live with my struggle is all about how I see it and the world in which I live.
Now, who knows how my disease will progress in a month, a year or down the line. I could have immense joint pain, a host of other complications, or I could remain as I am today. While no one can predict what the future holds, there is always a choice: to succumb to whatever ails you or embrace it. Work to understand it, then figure out how to work through it. How you view your struggle as it relates to how you see yourself in the world is your point of view and I will never question the way in which you live your life. However, I want to inspire you to look at your struggle, challenge, obstacle—you pick your word, and turn it upside down, kick it in the teeth and knock it sideways.
That is just what I did with my Scleroderma diagnosis. I could have easily let it become my life, influence my mindset everyday, let it get me down, let it bring my wife down and bring down others around me. Instead, I decided I was going to accept my challenge head on and live this Scleroderma life and live it fully. There is nothing it will do to me that I will allow it to affect my spirit and my zest for life. My spirit, will, and determination are my government, my congress, and my judge that will decide if the disease will be in charge or if I will be in charge.
So, take the first step. Make a commitment to yourself and be the champion that you are. Be the commander of your life, don’t let anything rule it, you rule it. I can’t twist your arm, but I can be that nagging, buzzing fly in your ear that says “YOU GOT THIS.” Under any and all circumstances in this life and with this disease or whatever afflicts you, you must not ever give up hope and have to keep fighting.
My decision was an easy and quick one. I saw Scleroderma as an opportunity to help others become stronger in the face of adversity—a spokesperson if you will for happiness, inspiration, strength and courage. My disease has lit such a fire in me to help others in similar situations. Now I see, my disease was a sign to slow down, but it was also a calling. A calling I have so longed for over the past 15 years of my life. I have jumped from job to job not knowing what I was supposed to do. I desperately tried to establish and figure out a career I was destined for, one where I could leave a legacy behind. And here it is Scleroderma, a rare autoimmune disease that is leading me to my path of awesomeness in order to leave this great legacy behind. Not only did I turn to writing my blog, I have also applied to graduate school to get a Master’s degree in Public Health so I can educate others on how to lead healthier lives.
I have such a renewed purpose in my life. Arielle and I are redirecting our efforts to just that—helping others to lead healthier lives through a total body and mind approach. Our company we started last summer, Confidence In Movement, began to inspire children and adults through movement and mindfulness. It had some direction, but let’s be honest—there was no real game plan, just a lot of great thoughts going in different directions. Now it has morphed into a specific goal. Help people afflicted with chronic illnesses that struggle with obstacles, and empower them to live healthier lives, be the greatest version of themselves, and ooze positivity through movement and education. Come join us on our journey as we try to make a lasting impact in this world.
Finally, remember my friends, the next time you wonder why things happen to you, think about how things happen FOR you.