“Thank You.” Why is that so hard to say? Why is a compliment so hard to accept? I have never been great at taking a compliment, but since my surgeries, I am even less able to simply say, “Thank you.” I have difficulty taking credit for my accomplishments and yet find it astonishingly easy to beat myself for my perceived failures. No more.
Since my second surgery, I have lost 149 pounds. With a bionic back, I have dropped 20 clothing sizes, eliminated my high cholesterol and hypertension, lost almost 50% of my weight and more than 40% of my body fat. Yet, ironically, when I weigh-in each week, rather than look at the incredible accomplishment I have achieved, I concentrate on the weeks when I do not lose, or the fact that my underarms still have some jiggle to them. When complimented on my weight loss, I downplay my accomplishment, offering explanations along with a healthy dose of self-deprecation. No more. The next time I am complimented on my weight loss, or told I look good, I shall say, “Thank you.”
Since having a multi-level spinal fusion in February 2012, I went from hardly being able to take ten steps, to Zumba and kickboxing 5 times a week, lifting weights and, in general, being in kick-butt shape. Friends and family tell me: “you look like nothing happened to you, like you are healed.” Rather than focus on the leaps and bounds I have made in physical therapy, I concentrate on the days when I cannot get out of bed, when I can’t get to a workout because of pain. No more. I fought tooth and nail to get myself back into shape. I do 7-8 hours of physical therapy a week. I walked out of the wheelchair and I did it one step at a time. The next time I am complimented on my recovery, I shall say, “Thank you.”
I have fought with mood swings and depression since I was a teenager. This past half year has been he!l on my emotions going through a divorce, cutting back on pain medication. I could have succumbed to depression and truly given up, but I fight, every day, to keep my sanity and to not give in to the loud voice in my head that tells me that I should give up, stay in bed, cry all day. I have been told, many times, “I don’t know how you do it. I would never get out of bed.” But, rather than focusing on the depression and the mood swings that I do control, I focus on the days when I can’t control it. I focus on those days when my moods get the best of me and I cry, or yell, or give in. I forget that out of 30 days, I got through 28 of them without breaking down and I beat myself up about the day that I lost control. No more. I work very hard to control my emotions. I fight against the depression as best I can, as often as I can. The next time I am complimented on ability to fend off depression, I shall say “Thank you.”
Every day is a battle in the war against life with chronic pain. Rather than focus on the wins, I concentrate on the losses. No more. I will try to take credit for the war that I am winning, not the battles I have lost and when I am complimented on my accomplishments, I shall say “Thank you.”
Image courtesy of my personal website and is copyrighted to the author.