Last night before going to bed, I read a long article about happiness. Of course, I thought I would remember which magazine it was in so I could write about it today, but I can’t. I tried Googling words and phrases from the article, but it turns out there are a lot of articles, essays, and general information about happiness on the internet.
What stood out about this article to me was the idea that you have to love the challenges and negative things in your life to be truly happy, and you have to look at life as a game. In the article, the author wrote about how if you view life as a game you wouldn’t want that game to be without challenges.
Okay, so before drifting off to sleep, I started thinking of my diverticulitis which has completely changed my life. I am so careful about what I eat, how much I eat, how much fiber I get, eating fruits and vegetables, and we used to go out to eat all of the time, and now I would prefer to eat at home. It also presents challenges when we are traveling, so we don’t travel as much.
What can I love about diverticulitis? Well, I eat 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. That is something to love about diverticulitis. Having the illness got me to eat a healthier diet. Also, I am by far more mindful of what I put in my body. This isn’t to say, I don’t eat potato chips and chocolate, I do, but I never engage in mindless eating now when before I did. Lastly, having diverticulitis helped me learn that I have willpower and a great deal of control over my actions. Okay, so those were the only things I thought I could stretch and say that I love about having diverticulitis.
After I did the exercise with diverticulitis, I had to try schizophrenia. Is there anything I can love about having schizophrenia? Even writing the word love and schizophrenia in the same sentence is difficult, but I am going to move past that and try the exercise.
I like the woman I am with schizophrenia, and I don’t know who that woman is anymore without schizophrenia. There are symptoms that I know are my illness, but there are other things about me where I can’t separate the illness from my personality. So, by loving/liking myself, I could also say I love/like schizophrenia (definitely not all of it!). But there are a few things worth mentioning; I think schizophrenia has increased my compassion, and having schizophrenia has made me more empathetic. Schizophrenia has helped me see the bigger picture which includes me, and many others who are both like, and not like, me. Schizophrenia has helped me make connections in my brain and my thinking that I might not otherwise make.
There you have it; I was able to love two of my biggest health concerns for some of the things they bring into my life. Am I one step closer to happiness? Well, I already consider myself happy, so no, but if I keep looking for the positive buried in the negative I might end up being deliriously happy, who knows?