Monday, April 9, 2012

Strong Like Bull

Hi!  It has been a while since I’ve done a post and I hope you’re all doing okay.  :0)  My doctor had grounded me from the computer and it’s taken me a while to figure out how to rejoin computerland.  I do have to say that my 2 weeks away from the internet with that nagging itch to check email or Facebook was truly invigorating.  I highly recommend it.  You’ll be amazed at how much more relaxed you are, after even a couple days.  I had no idea how out of balance things were getting.  Well, it was so easy to be so invested in ‘my new life’ on the internet – that’s how it is when you’re too sick to interact with people in real life.

I want to talk about mental strength.  Plenty of things happen in life (like Lyme Disease!) that rob you of your physical strength, but there’s a whole lot more that tries to rob you of your mental strength.  What I mean by mental strength really is will.  Will to live, drive to ‘succeed,’ that can-do, won’t-quit attitude; that intangible, invisible ‘moxy’ that separates the fighters from the quitters. 

Things like the death of a loved one, a debilitating diagnosis, some kind of survival situation are all things that test you just a bit.  They poke you a little bit, all the time, just to see how you’ll respond.  To see if you’ll quit.  Or see if you won’t.

I’ve been watching a lot of survival shows lately (Man, Woman, Wild; Out of the Wild; Dual Survival) and one common theme that all the survivors talk about is mental strength to get through it.  And the difference between living and dying is not giving up.  And not giving in to frustration when things don’t work out.  And really enjoying (and recognizing) all the little victories along the way – like finding food, water, or shelter.  Or, in our case, having a few pain-free hours, or being able to get through a social situation without saying anything too stupid, or being able to run an errand.  These are all little victories and so they should be treated as such.  (Yay, mini mental parties!)

I’ve learned about conditioning my mind, as cliché as it may sound, to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.  And it’s hard, no doubt, but does get easier, the more you do it. 

So the next time you get those yucky thoughts telling you that you can’t do it, or it’s impossible, or that things will never get better, do what you can to squash it.  It’s a little test to see how you’ll respond.  Be sure to choose to respond with a little attitude.  ‘Oh no you didn’t…’  J  And it takes time to remember that you don’t have to respond with despair or loathing (although it’s ok to respond that way sometimes, just not all the time).  And the reverse is true too, when things do go your way, exaggerate how important it is.  Beef it up.  Say to yourself, ‘way to go, champ!’ 

You’ll be flexing your mental biceps before you know it.  

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