In the last three years since my diagnosis with UC, I’ve thought a lot about relationships. Naturally I’m an empathetic person. I’m vulnerable, I cry easily, and I love too easily. I’m talking all relationships: family, friends, and intimate personal ones. I assumed people in my life would step up and be there for me. I quickly learned that was not the case. Illness scares people, some people don’t and won’t ever care to understand let alone actually remember the name of your illness. I experienced how selfish people are and self-absorbed. I saw how easy it could be that my health was dismissed. I think we expect so much from the people around us during the bad times since they seem to be there during the good times. I became hurt, angry and disappointed at the lack of support and actions with the people in my circle.
I knew I had no choice but to be my own shoulder to lean on, which I did, over and over. Day in and day out in pain. As I smiled and told those around me, “I was fine” when obviously I wasn’t. I felt ashamed to continue talking about my health. Especially when it was so clearly misunderstood to almost everyone around me except my mom. I don’t think I expected too much of anyone at all. I wanted to know I had genuine people around me that truly cared. Fast forward to today, as I continue daily asking myself can I forgive those people, I can’t help but still be hurt. And that’s ok. I thought after 6 months of daily prayer, journaling, meditating, and therapy that I would automatically transform my anger into forgiveness and it would all be behind me. But that hasn’t happened, and that’s ok too. It’s ok for me to still feel pain from those who have hurt me. Not as a victim, but as a person who is aware of her feelings and accepts them without rushing any process. I respect my feelings and listen to what I truly need to take care of myself. I noticed as I did that more and more, people fell out and pulled away even more.
Guess what? I may still experience pain and anger from time to time (as this is all part of the process) but I don’t hold it against anyone. After all, we are all human and all make mistakes. I’ve accepted my life for what it is and when I did that and stopped forcing and controlling things (such as reaching out to friends first, spending time with people who didn’t care about me, etc.) I became more alive again. I became friends with myself even more. I fell in love with myself even more. Self-love is empowering, it’s intense, strong, and unlike any other love.
I’ve realized many of the people around me did not love themselves, they weren’t truly happy and that will eventually show and project and end relationships of all kinds in one way or another.
I don’t fault them for that and I’m no one to judge. But I know I am enough myself to move on from relationships like that and/or set boundaries (family especially). I know I am enough because I love myself.