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Wisdom in Every Wound

Many times a bruised mango has the sweetest flavor- Emmanuel

Some pains never really goes away; they are like dull stains on a white shirt. We can’t see them clearly, but we know that they are there. All we can do is keep the white part of the shirt so clean and focus on the shine.

An osprey eagle soaring above caught her attention as she sat on a rock near the shoreline. If only she could fly away from it all. She felt raw inside. Her recent brush with cancer had left and invisible wound. She snapped back to her surroundings as the passer by walking the beach waved hello.

The passer by thought about her sitting on the rock and reflected on his loneliness. Solitude filled with rage. There was anger he could not comprehend. Emotional wound undetected outside himself. He walked on churning inside, living his story. An old man tipped his hat to him.

Barely moving the old man shuffled past, kicking up sand. The old man had the sadness around him. Depression-a dark tunnel inside himself, no one can see the pains of his soul. His vision was closing in, a chasm he could not cross. Suddenly a voice in the dark day, “Hello John,” The happy go lucky teenager said, as she passed the old guy on her bike heading towards town. She was young, hardly sixteen, but inside her head the old rape story in her childhood kept replaying itself. Her happy go lucky nature was a mask covering the broken spirit, a wounded bird wanting to take flight. She looked briefly across the water to see the eagle dip close to the sea. She would change places if she could and be riding the invisible air current with ease and grace leaving the wounds behind.

There is wisdom in every wound. There is an explanation behind every fear. There is a reason for every pain. They help us to grow. They help us to be compassionate. They help us to forgive. Who would you be without your story? We are all the walking wounded. Life can leave scars. A friend’s famous line: “Get over yourself and live your life.”

When I look back at the part of me that was once wounded, they actually came bearing gifts. There is gold to be mined in every experience. Our experiences will not always be rosy and comfortable, but they get so much easier when we learn to accept them.

Many people live with chronic illness or physical conditions that impact their daily lives. The definition of chronic illness can include everything from arthritis to cancer, migraines to diabetes, and back pain to fibromyalgia. Even mental illness or emotional disorders are considered invisible illnesses.

One of the biggest emotional hurdles for people who suffer from daily pain is the invisibility of it. Statistics tell us that about 96% of illness is invisible–meaning the person who suffers from the condition may appear to be a healthy individual but who actually copes each day with physical pain.

If you have an invisible wound here are some ways to let go of hurt feelings and create a better life:

Let go of expectations
This may be a life-long process, but you will consistently find that people will always disappoint you. No one is perfect–including you! Remember, you don’t understand the difficulties that your friends are going through. Your illness is significant in your life. Even when people care, they still have things in their own lives to think about. Rather than compare, listen and practice compassion.

Find supportive friends
When you are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, you don’t need to be around people who constantly belittle you or doubt your illness. End that relationship or distant yourself from that relative. Who needs friends that will send us spiraling into depression? Spend your time with friends that care about you.

Find joy in your wounds
Rather than thinking about how badly you feel find ways to bring more joy into your life. Appreciate the little things. Many invisible illnesses help people examine what makes them happy and where their passions lie. You may not be able to garden like you once did, but you can grow a few plotted flowers and hire a gardener.

Investigate forgotten talents
If you’re no longer able to work because of your illness, you may feel like your skills are going to waste. Maybe you’ve always wanted to write children’s books or start a business from home. Volunteer part-time work for a cause you feel passionate about. Instead of focusing on what others aren’t doing or giving you, follow your dreams and give that gift to yourself.

Focus on someone else
You personally know how hard it is to live with illness and to feel like no one understands. So take time to be vulnerable with someone else who is going through this. You have knowledge on how to live with invisible wounds; use it to make someone else’s journey easier and you’ll find your own is more enjoyable too.

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