I read a magazine article years ago shortly after my sarcoidosis diagnosis. It covered the topic of the “shoulds” in life.
The article defined a “should” as an item such as good health, the ability to work a full-time job, having strong and supportive relationships, and being able to make plans and reach goals in life. Essentially, a should is anything we’ve been led to believe is automatically part of life. If we work hard, stay focused, and make good choices, additional goodies can be added to that list.
Most people probably walk around with these expectations. While the shoulds might vary a bit from person to person, they typically include many of the same items. Yet, these very same things often cause us distress. This is especially true when living with a rare and chronic health condition.
We’re not wrong for wanting certain things in life. Why wouldn’t we all want the best life has to offer? This is especially true in the age of social media, when comparing ourselves, our lives, and our accomplishments (or lack thereof) is almost a social norm. Yet, these comparisons can be quite detrimental to our personal contentment, quality of life, and peace of mind. Often, they can leave one feeling resentful, unhappy, and envious.
However, once we lose these expectations — our ideas about life going a certain way and according to a specific plan — life becomes a little easier. This is especially true when dealing with disappointments and losses, like being diagnosed with a rare health condition in your prime, such as sarcoidosis.
Changing expectations does not mean we have no expectations, that we have lost hope, or given up on life altogether. Instead, it’s just a realistic adjustment to circumstances, especially those out of our control. Adjusting to my situation is the only way I can make peace with the changes and losses I have been handed.
Whatever life has handed you is challenging enough. In many cases, life is filled with hard knocks, disappointments, and unforeseen difficulties. But I choose not to make it more difficult for myself by falling for the shoulds.
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.
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