I have said it before and I will say it again. Living with MS is an uncertain art. MS has taught me how to put down boundaries. Boundaries always seemed like such a taboo before. I did not know my personal value and I gave to everyone around me with exuberant indifference to my own needs. Disease or not, we can’t live like that.
I had to take a long hard look in the mirror when I got sick. I saw a broken, lonely, angry person. I had so many people telling me what to do and who to be all of my life. Until finally, there I was, alone with this disease and no one I knew had any idea of what to tell me.
At first I was afraid. I had no experience in living a life of my own design. Eventually, I figured out how to self soothe and I began to feel free. MS was a dividing force that broke the bonds between me and the people who had been holding me back all of my life.
We all have to do a dance in this world to get through life with the most joy, love and happiness that we can muster. MS has trained me to try to live the life that I always should have been living. If people are going to be worth my time then I will invest my time in them. If people are not worth my time, then I will create distance. I have made my interpersonal relationships a central focus since I was diagnosed. I only wish that I would have started doing this earlier in my life.
Carefully Choosing Who Gets Close
What I am saying is, it is important that the people you need in life are the ones who are worth needing. If you have someone who is close to you that is making zero effort to understand you then that person will be a drain on your life. I had little time for people who dragged me down before. I have no time and no resources for them now.
It is not always necessary or possible to cut all ties with people who don’t understand you. It is just incredibly productive to make sure that you take the steps necessary to structure your life in a way that reduces your necessity for that person to understand you.
Sometimes all you may need to do is realize that a person will be a good friend up to a point. That they may not have the capacity to connect with you on all levels. This knowledge can foster your motivation to find people who have the capacity to meet you there, on all levels.
Other times you may have to take more drastic steps to ensure that you are not vulnerable to a person who is insensitive and lacks understanding. You may have to walk away from this person completely. It is a judgement call and it should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
I try to look at my relationships as an exercise in sifting through and searching. Through doing this, I have found that I connect with the most unlikely people. Actively seeking out quality people has caused me to look more deeply at people than I used to. I no longer choose my friends quickly or easily. I have taken the reigns in my hands and I am no longer a victim of the people that I have randomly been handed in life.
Once I began to choose who was close to me, their understanding became a natural step in our relationship. I was able to long for understanding less and live more.