Why Healthy Shouldn't Be the Ultimate Goal
For many of us suffering from chronic illness (myself included) getting healthy is our ultimate goal.
It’s what motivates us to spend countless hours researching our condition, visiting various medical practitioners, and shelling out our hard earned money for treatments that may or may not work.
We just want our life back. We want to be able to enjoy our lives the way that we used to before we got sick.
But, what if I told you that surviving and thriving with chronic illness can be so much more achievable when getting healthy again isn’t our ultimate goal.
Now don’t get me wrong, getting healthy was one of my main goals for the four years that I lived with chronic SIBO and gut issues. These conditions affected my day-to-day life and made everything from going to work to visiting with friends and family a struggle.
Getting healthy is important. But I believe that it’s not the MOST important.
Shifting Our Focus
What if we shifted our main focus from gaining health to gaining contentment right where we’re at?
Because, the reality is what if full health and recovery never come?
It’s a reality that we never want to think about, but it’s one that I (and I bet you have too) have had to face countless times during my chronic illness journey.
If our contentment and satisfaction with life and our current situation are solely dependent on whether or not we’re regaining our health, we have a lot to lose if what we see as regained health never comes.
If health is all you’re searching for, hard to think about or not, you might be stuck searching and longing for something that is out of reach.
A New Version of Health
When I first started experiencing symptoms of SIBO and the chronic gut dysfunction that would dominate my life for four years, healthy was my ultimate goal.
I wanted to be able to go back to the life that I had before getting sick. I wanted those Saturday nights of eating cupcakes and entire boxed cake mixes with my husband. I wanted to get back to our weekly homemade pizza and taco dinner traditions.
Because for me, that was healthy. That was thriving. That was all I knew.
But what I realized is that at some point in my health journey, healthy began to take on a completely new definition.
Healthy for me now is no longer eating and living how I used to. That was the lifestyle which was conducive to me getting sick in the first place.
And healthy now looks much different. Much better and more fulfilling, physically, emotionally, and spiritually than I could have ever imagined before I got sick.
In fact, if I hadn’t walked through the dark of chronic illness, I never would have reached this new place of health and satisfaction with my life. Even though my current version of healthy looks completely different than what I originally imagined it to be.
How I eat, how I live, and how I think are completely different than they were before I got sick.
And this new definition of health for me, even though it doesn’t look like weekly cupcakes and pizza, is far better than I ever could have imagined for myself.
Contentment, Right Where I Am
This new version of health centers on the trust and peace that comes with being content right where I am. No matter how I feel or what my external circumstances look like, I know that my life is exactly how it’s supposed to be.
And how do I know that?
Because I never wanted or imagined years of chronic illness for my life. Sickness and struggling were not how I had pictured spending the majority of my 20’s.
But that’s how it happened. And after going through what I went through and seeing the miracle it took to get me to the other side, I can’t for one second believe this is not exactly what my life was supposed to look like from the very beginning.
Through my health struggles I’ve been given a passion and a platform to help others in ways that I never could have before. I’ve been given the opportunity to share messages like this one, to people like you who are struggling in the dark of their illness, longing for health to come.
And most importantly, I’ve been given a new perspective on life. One that enables me to have contentment, right where I am, no matter what.
A contentment that will serve me long past my days of struggling with chronic illness. A contentment that will keep me afloat when other unexpected and uncontrollable circumstances arise.
And it’s a contentment that is available for you too, no matter where you are in your healing journey. It can be as simple as shifting your mindset from one of valuing health above all else, to valuing contentment no matter what.
And I know this isn’t an easy mindset shift to make, especially when you’re in the midst of battling chronic illness. But I’d love to help walk you through this change in perspective. Feel free to reach out to me via my Contact form or at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can walk through this shift together!
Living in the Abundantly More
Clinging tightly to my “pre-sickness” version of healthy would have prevented me from experiencing the abundantly more that was to be mine at the end of this healing journey.
And no, I don’t think I will ever be 100% healthy. I will probably always have some lingering gut issues hanging over my life.
But does that prevent me from living in the abundantly more that I’ve been so blessed to experience because of what I’ve been through? Of course not.
There’s something precious about chronic illness and living through hardships. About being in a place so dark that you truly don’t know if you’ll ever see the light at the other side.
It gives you a perspective that those who have never walked through a similar experience just cannot have.
It gives you a sense of what it means to completely lose control. To be completely reliant on something outside yourself.
It’s an experience that changes you, no matter the outcome.
And yes, I did find health along the way, and I fully believe you will too. But by making my ultimate goal contentment at whatever stage of health I was in, I also found peace.
A peace that surpasses my current situation. A peace that will stay with me no matter where my health ultimately lands or takes me in the future.
A peace that is worth so much more to me than my health ever could.