The Power of Acceptance
Written by: Tatiana Skomski
The moment you’re diagnosed with a chronic illness your world stops. When you’re told you have something that is incurable and you’ll have to live with it for the rest of your life, it can feel like the life you once had is being ripped away from you. The moment I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis feelings of anger, resentment, sadness and fear washed over me. I couldn’t picture what a “normal” life would look like living with an autoimmune disease, and honestly I just didn’t believe I could have one.
The thing is, the key to living a happy life with a chronic illness is acceptance. Acceptance of my chronic illness gave me strength, mental clarity, the ability to help others, a sense of self and so much more. And if I can get to acceptance, I know you can too. But how do you get from complete anger and resentment towards your diagnosis to acceptance?
My journey to acceptance was a rocky one. It took me years to get to where I am now and along the way there were many ups and downs. And that’s the key, it took me time to get to true acceptance. It’s not something that happens overnight, but there are steps you can take each day to get a little bit closer to it.
During my journey towards full acceptance of my diagnosis, there were a few things that made a huge difference:
Find a community:
Finding my community who understood exactly what I was going through made me feel “normal” again. Just being able to have conversations with others that I know understood me on a level that no one else in my life could was a huge relief. It made it so much easier to get to picture my future “normal” life and accept that I would be okay. This is a huge reason I wanted to create my online community for others going through similar things that I had been through. But it can be helpful to find as many communities as possible where you feel at home.
Create a support system:
Just like finding a community, having a strong support system that you can be open with about your diagnosis is incredibly helpful in accepting your chronic illness. Maybe those people are those in the communities you found, or they are significant others, parents, siblings, friends, neighbors, etc. Maybe that looks like taking the extra step to hire a coach, therapist or mental health professional. I know therapy was a huge help in getting to acceptance with my diagnosis (plus I’m a huge advocate for therapy overall - I think everyone can benefit). Whatever that looks like for you and your life, it’s critical to have at least one person you can turn to and share yourself and your diagnosis with. It takes the burden off of you always being alone in your own head about things. Plus the power of talking through things with other people is HUGE. I’m always here to coach you through it, so don’t forget that! I want to be your biggest cheerleader, hand holder and advocate when it comes to accepting and embracing your diagnosis.
Release limiting beliefs around your diagnosis:
We all have limiting beliefs whether or not we realize it. Especially around our chronic illnesses when we are first diagnosed. Some common limiting beliefs I hear from my clients (and I have experienced myself) include, “I’m never going to feel better,” “I’m never going to feel normal because of my chronic illness,” “No one will ever understand me and my chronic illness.” The more we repeat these beliefs in our heads, the more we ultimately limit ourselves in being able to move forward. In order to release these beliefs, it is important to list them all out, show gratitude for how they have served us, give ourselves forgiveness for believing them in the first place, give ourselves permission to rewrite them and then turn those beliefs into new truths. This is one of the first exercises I teach and do with my clients in my one on one coaching program, the Chronically Confident Accelerator! It truly allows us to move forward in our acceptance journey.
These tips definitely don’t entirely encapsulate all of the things that helped me get to full acceptance of my diagnosis. But they are the things that I feel like made the biggest difference for me. And like I said, acceptance doesn’t come overnight. So please don’t set a timeline for yourself or get mad at yourself when you’re not where you hoped to be on your journey of acceptance. We all come to things in our own time. Healing isn’t linear and isn’t something you can entirely control. But you can take active steps to get closer day by day. And like I said, I’m always here for you if you need that extra support.
Reach out to me on Instagram @simplybalancedwithtati if you want help accepting your diagnosis!