Tuesday Tip

““When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. “
~Maya Angelou

This is one of those quotes that’s hitting very close to home lately. I started writing a post about the importance of going with your “gut” instinct – a topic which ties into this quote very closely. There are so many implications to this quote as well: the primary one over which I have found myself pensively obsessing is that people tend NOT to believe what is being said about a particular person (especially if what is sad is “bad”) when 1. said “people” feel as if they are doing something “good” regarding the person in question, i.e., these people feel as if they are being charitable, compassionate, and helpful with this person when the person is actually using them for their own personal gain, and 2. said person is a master of manipulation. It seems that we are so often inclined to look for the GOOD in people; this is true of some more than others, but in general, if you are not an extremely “jaded” person, you tend to see the GOOD and ignore the bad – especially if you haven’t SEEN or experienced the “bad” firsthand. Those of us with severe chronic disease tend to be highly empathic, which can be highly problematic in this sort of context – others tell us about their problems and we tend to feel sorry for them. HOWEVER, in order to preserve our own integrity to ourselves and to maintain “healthy boundaries” between ourselves and potentially toxic others, we must take a few steps back and look at the situation as objectively as possible. For me, I have had numerous encounters with people who PLAY UP their “illnesses” in order to gain attention, sympathy, assistance, &c. &c. from others – don’t be the fool who loses anything (emotionally, mentally, physically, &c.) because you didn’t believe the person when he or she showed you his or her true colors. Do not simply ignore when others tell you a certain person was abusive to others; do not ignore that person freaking out at another person, regardless of what that person was doing. The great Maya Angelou stated it so perfectly in the above quote. Do not feed the egos of people who are trying to “get something” from others by using their illness(es) as an excuse. *Note: As I have said here before, there are always times when we need help from others; HOWEVER, not recognizing your own part in your health and failing to be grateful for what you do have physically and trying to make others feel badly for you so you can get “things” from them are NOT MATTERS THAT REQUIRE HELP!*

I will leave that at that for now. This is sure to be a long and continuing discussion in posts to come. Again, I hope you are all having a happy and healthy day wherever you are in the world. Thank you for taking the time to read this and please just be careful of potentially toxic people – you have enough to worry about … even if you are perfectly healthy! TRUST THAT PEOPLE ARE WHAT THEY ARE WHEN THEY SHOW YOU WHO THEY ARE. And as a side note to that, please remember that YOU cannot change others – the others have to WANT to change themselves! The potentially “toxic” people about whom I am talking are often those “self-victimizers” who blame their problems on everything but themselves. I know chronic illness is not our fault – that is not what I mean to insinuate here. A quick example – I was on some pretty hardcore pain meds for a few years several years ago; to make that VERY long story short, the way full mu-agonist opioids work basically makes those of us who take them for very legitimate pain not only dependent, but as time progresses, these drugs actually CREATE THE SENSATION OF HAVING MORE PHYSICAL PAIN THAN WE ACTUALLY (AND ALREADY) HAVE! It took me awhile to understand all of this, but once I came off of these meds, I saw how the “me” on pain meds was not ME at all and I saw how much LESS pain I was in simply not taking them. The lessons here are that when I was on those meds I WAS A TOXIC PERSON (and honestly, unless you fully realize those effects, you are too!) and that I had to take accountability for my dependency and increased pain and I had to remove myself from that “situation.” Many people tried to force me out of it, but in the end, I was the only one who could pull myself up out of that all-encompassing hole.

I will leave you with that. Have a good one, everyone!

❤ Always, Beth

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