3 Life-Changing Lessons I've Learned
I learned early on 3 very important lessons that I carry with me to this day, and they have helped me not only in life, but also in dealing with my narcolepsy diagnosis:
- Helping others helps me
- Expect the worst, hope for the best
- Learn to accept what you cannot change
Everyone has a right to their opinion, and I believe it’s important that people respect each other’s different views. These lessons I’m sharing are things that for me, personally, have helped me a lot!
I hope that by sharing these perspectives, they could help some of you as well.
1. Helping others helps me
From a very young age, I suffered a lot from bullying at school. My self-esteem was extremely low, and I had a very hard time standing up for myself for a very long time.
However, there was one thing that always gave me unbelievable strength that even I couldn’t really understand: standing up for other people. I never understood why it was easier for me to summon up the courage when it came to other people, but impossible when it came to myself.
When I was diagnosed with narcolepsy at the age of 28, I finally began to realise the importance of helping others by doing advocacy work. You see, when we are experiencing difficult problems in our lives, the worst thing we can do is focus on these problems.
I’ve found that when I feel helpless about my life, the best thing I can do is to put my focus on how I can help others with their problems. Doing this removes the focus from me and eventually helps me to get past that feeling of desperation and get to a better state of mind in which I can resolve things more easily.
2. Expect the worst, hope for the best
When I was younger, I remember one time I had a problem with a great friend of mine. My sister noticed I was upset and asked me what had happened. I cried and told her how I couldn’t believe this friend had treated me so badly after I had helped her so many times over the years.
My sister taught me something that I have never forgotten: never expect others to do what you would do, or think how you think. Do things because you want to, without expecting the same in return.
When it comes to my narcolepsy, this has helped me to always be prepared for things to go wrong but to be hopeful that there will always be a solution.
3. Learn to accept what you cannot change
For me, there are only two certainties in life — death and change.
We know that eventually we will all part from this world and that no matter what happens, things will never stay the same forever.
Being diagnosed with an incurable, chronic condition was definitely something that is still not easy to live with. There are good days and bad days. But as a whole, I choose to live my life not focusing on what could have been or wishing my life was different.
Everyone has problems. That is a fact of life. We do not get to choose what problems we get. How we deal with these problems, however, is entirely our choice.
The way I see it is, it really is a matter of whether you choose to see the glass as half full or half empty. It does not change what’s in the glass... but it does change how you feel about it.
How often do you experience automatic behavior?