I had the results back from some tests my doctor sent me for, and it turns out that I have an underlying condition. I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
To be frank, it was a bit of a shock. I am still in my early 40s and this particular condition is more usually diagnosed in much older people.
My initial reaction was fear – I wanted to know what how this would affect me and whether it would shorten the length of my life. I also wanted to know how I had got it.
My doctor was very reassuring. He told me that as long as I continue to live a healthy life and (crucially!) avoid smoking completely, then there is every possibility of it not affecting my life or limiting the length of it! Phew!
He explained that it was most likely caused by a combination of smoking for 20 years and not controlling my asthma properly in the past (I used to forget to take my inhalers). Hearing this caused me to experience a powerful and very unhelpful emotion…guilt.
Basically, the reality is that it is at least partially my fault that I have this chronic disease. This made me feel real regret mixed with anger at my stupidity as well as shame for not stopping smoking much earlier. And this cocktail of emotions is quite a powerful one!
So..what did I do?
I did two things, and they both really helped:
1). I went for a long walk on my own to think it all through.
2). I forgave myself.
I admitted to myself that I had done a very stupid thing (smoked 20 a day) for a long time, but I made an absolute vow to myself that I will NEVER smoke a single puff of a cigarette ever again.
I explained to myself that I learned from the mistake I made in the past and would now use this knowledge to create the best life possible for me now and for the future.
Now, if I’m honest, when I first found out I did think, “Right! There’s no point me carrying on trying to be healthy if I have this disease. Why don’t I have a beer and just enjoy myself?”
And it was a powerful suggestion – I was very tempted!
But… I went for my walk and started seeing things differently.
I realised that I have already improved the quality of my life and that I feel so much better living a healthy life and being much more positive.
Also, I realised that if I stop living positively then I will be back to being my old unfit, negative self, with the addition of a chronic condition, Not a good plan at all!
So, I made the conscious, willed choice to accept responsibility for my past mistakes, learn from them, forgive myself and move forward with strong intention and determination to be better.
I think the thing that really kept me going was my WHY.
The more I study self-development, the more I realise that the thing that keeps everyone on the path to a better life is having a compelling reason to change, or a WHY.
What is a WHY?
Your WHY is simple… What Heals You?
I think it’s essential that when life throws crap at you…and it will!… that you have a compelling reason to keep going. And that’s your WHY.
Once you know the thing that will make you feel whole again and like the real you, then you have found What Heals You!
For me, it is all about being healthy, happy and authentic. Hence the blog tagline!
The healthy and happy are very clear for me – I want to be doing things that make me feel energetic and alive as well as things that I genuinely enjoy doing.
And the authentic part is me saying that I need to be honest, genuine and real.
Not just on here when talking to you, but also when talking to myself!
So that is my WHY and it’s keeping me on the path.
I’m not going to let an illness define or limit me.
It’s actually a positive thing, because it allows me to show myself just how far I have come and that I truly know where I am heading.
Good luck finding your own WHY!
Cheers for now,