‘Happiness’, ‘Empowerment’, ‘Courage’ and ‘Acceptance’ are buzz words that are constantly thrown around! Here in the U.K. we seem to be easily following in the Network Marketing footsteps of the USA.
I’m all for the happy seal clapping, whooping and hollering! I loved Stella and Dot Hoopla. I love seeing my friends succeeding with Younique. I’m also intrigued by the increase of Self Growth books and Positive Affirmations. I even buy them myself! I loved ‘Girl Code’ and most recently ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’.
But how has this aided me!? How is this post going to aid you? I’m not a life coach, I’m cynical, I’m mostly happy when following my own rules or lying next to a pool with a margarita! Can I relate to unhappiness. YES! I am the average nearly 30 year old who has other things to worry about as well as my medical condition.
So how do I cope? How do I survive? I QUIT! I QUIT doing what makes me unhappy. I QUIT saying yes to unnecessary stress. I QUIT putting others before myself.
I accept what I can’t change, and alter what I can change.
I came to this realisation fully when I underwent Multi Layer Lymphoedema Bandaging. I couldn’t change it so I had to tackle it and accept it. This was my turning point. I had to dress for the bandages. I categorised, felt fear, and done it anyway.
Do I enjoy showing my leg? I’m not really bothered now, but initially I hated it. With bandaging I had no choice- either sit in my pjs at home, morbid and depressed for 3 weeks OR… Alter my clothing and go out. I chose the latter. Majority of people asked what my injury was. The lightbulb flashed on. I had made a bigger deal internally about what people would think of me and my leg than was necessary.
Am I better for this experience? Yes. I now feel less insecure about my limb. I’m slightly more confident in holding my head high! I still have self conscious moments. I still have times when I want to hide my limb and sink in to the background.
I hate to break it to you, but in the words of Ruth Whippman… it’s not all about you! People may glance or stare. But in the grand scheme… they don’t really care unless you directly affect them! People are selfish. There is a reason you think people care… you care about yourself and your feelings in exactly the same way as the person who glances. My bet is that the person who glanced at your garment has forgotten about it by the time they have reached the next aisle of the supermarket… even though you held on to that moment when you got home, unloaded the shopping, made a cuppa and worked your way through Facebook and Instagram!!
I too focus on the people who glance and stare. But now I consciously make an effort to not dwell on these thoughts. I realise they are unproductive to my day! People take less notice than you think. Can you remember the details of your colleague’s outfit yesterday? What earrings were they wearing? That bloke on the treadmill this morning, what was on his tshirt? Did he have a conversation with the receptionist? Chances are, you can remember vaguely but not in detail. THE SAME HAPPENS ABOUT YOU AND YOUR GARMENT! People forget, they remember your personality and character.
Part of accepting Lymphoedema is the courage to start not caring what others think. Being selfish when needed. Don’t do it for anyone else. You do it for you. You do it in your time frame. Repetition of actions takes courage but does empower you. It gives you options in how you want to live! Happiness should be a by product of acceptance, less stress, and thinking… I’ve done it. Now it’s your turn…
I’m going to leave you with a dare…
Do something today that scares you a little… try on and/or buy that pair of skinny jeans… wear that bold lipstick… post that selfie… join a gym… do something that the future you will be proud of.
Lots of Love
Copyright Lauren Toner 2011-2017