You need to acknowledge and befriend your weakness in order for you to come out with triple the strength you never knew you had.
We all feel that what defines us as individuals is how much our successes are, how many medals we have, how much recognitions we have, and the list just goes on. We tend to focus on these too much that we fail to see the bumps and bruises we obtained by getting where we are. You see I have been a failure-definer (for lack of a better term) but I would like to emphasize on how much it made me stronger.
Two months ago I was diagnosed with Heart Failure, and yes that happened six years after my cancer diagnosis which came as a shock. I am in remission from cancer but lo and behold my heart failed me. I have what you call Dilated Cardiomyopathy (I have a literally enlarged heart like a sac filled with water) and the ability of my heart to pump blood into circulation is running at 33%, the normal should be 55% above no wonder when I walk just a few steps I would pant and experience shortness of breath, it’s as if I ran a marathon- that bad, and so here we go again, I bungee-jumped from a doctor to a patient, and so I saw a friend/colleague and now my doctor and the first thing I asked was “What’s the worst that can happen?” and he confidently said, “I don’t think about the worst I’d always like to think that you will get better.” My family knows and has been very supportive and I am also grateful that my workplace is in the hospital so safe space, right? But after all that I have been through, now this? I literally got my heart broken and now it’s healing and oftentimes find myself hoping for more years.
And so here are the learnings I would like to share which hopefully would help you understand and in a way appreciate the road with detours and streets called failure. Five points, one love-
You are never alone.
That feeling of isolation happens and it’s terrible and it really makes us feel shitty but hey we all struggle, nothing is too trivial; every little thing that matters to you does and that varies. So, open up. Tell someone what you’re feeling. I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about my new condition but as I write this piece I just felt the inspiration to do so, maybe, just maybe it may help a crushed heart and soul or two.
You matter, you really do.
Sometimes thoughts aren’t facts, they can change, they can go away based on how we perceive them to be. On days when I’m at my lowest, it’s probably because I’m responding to an accumulation of physical and emotional challenges, at times subconsciously.
When I add all these things up, it really leads to negative emotions and with that comes every negative thought that floats through my brain as if it were real. But, come to think of it, they’re not. They are conclusions, and interpretations, all put together based on my present mood and biased perception.
You have probably felt this way too, you might think you don’t matter today, and perhaps you did yesterday, and the many days before that too. But those thoughts do not necessarily have to be your reality, it may be rooted in some deep cause but it doesn’t invalidate your existence, because at the end of it all- you matter.
The opinion of others should not define you. Choose the ones that will make you better and feel better about yourself.
In this day and age everybody seems to have an opinion on how you should be, what you should do and worst who you should become, but that isn’t the case, and I’m not driving at a paradigm of totally shutting yourself out from feedback from others, but once you do open up to that listen to the people who matter and those who truly care.
It can really be difficult to understand the core of who we believe we are, and why we do what we do, but even if you’ve just started on the acknowledgment that you’ve begun your long road to healing, that in itself is enough and know that you can, in time, learn to let it just go.
Doing your best is more than enough, it’s the best.
I have reached a point in my life when I take on tasks and advocacies that matter and that once I get into it I just do my best and not really try so hard to prove myself to others because deep inside of me I know that I have done what I should with good intentions and performed at the best of my capacity. After all, failure builds your ability to do better and that’s one thing we have to build on. Just do it, if it works then good, if it doesn’t it isn’t the end of the world. Life goes on.
You have done so much for others; you just don’t know.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Just be kind to others and yourself, never mind what others would say as long as you have your good intentions with you and realize that even if they don’t blatantly talk about you and what you have done (nothing small), you have been their version of a blessing. In fact, when you do good just do it and forget about it; that’s the true value of sincerity.
As someone once said “Never think you don’t have an impact. Your fingerprints can’t be wiped away from the little marks of kindness that you’ve left behind.”
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over these past months of another diagnosis, it’s that beliefs precede actions, which then confirm beliefs. If you believe you won’t heal then you won’t if you think you can’t then you really wouldn’t get anywhere. Life is indeed short to drown on the “cannot”, just go for it so you may truly live a life that can. As of this writing, I am doing well, my heart’s healing and I’ll forever be thankful because I know that I’m right where I should be.