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The Trick to Finding Gratitude When You Live in a World of Inescapable Suffering & Naive Assholes

The Trick to Finding Gratitude When You Live in a World of Inescapable Suffering & Naive Assholes


In 1930, Virginia Woolf wrote an essay titled “On Being Ill,” in which she claims literature lacked to explain the pain and suffering illness brought on. And as unfortunate as it is, it seems, this is still the case.

“Novels, one would have thought, would have been devoted to influenza; epic poems to typhoid; odes to pneumonia; lyrics to toothache. But no; with a few exceptions De Quincey attempted something of the sort in The Opium Eater; there must be a volume or two about disease scattered through the pages of Proust — literature does its best to maintain that its concern is with the mind; that the body is a sheet of plain glass through which the soul looks straight and clear, and, save for one or two passions such as desire and greed, is null, and negligible and non-existent.”

In the body of a woman with Endometriosis, it’s hard to see that glass as anything but a cracking windowpane walling us into a world of fractured realities with inevitable, inescapable suffering.

It’s hard to see Endometriosis as anything but the enemy. Our very own cells turned against us, only to breed self-hatred and an ever-evolving cipher of perpetual anxiety, which leaves me (and probably a lot of other women) to wonder how we’re supposed to feel gratitude.

Television shows, movies, and even journalists in the media tell us that when we’re sick, science will devote massive research and time into finding a cure. (Ha!) Any woman with Endometriosis will gladly celebrate over someone simply believing that she is in pain.

How are we supposed to find gratitude when the world is so naive? I ask myself this question a lot.

According to a study published in 2017, gratitude has the power to lower depression in those with chronic illness and improve quality of life.

And I’ve read that the path to gratitude starts by observing the body without judgment – which means you will have to take off your society-created lens of dysfunction for a minute and pay attention to the person in the mirror.

Step one: Invest in a gratitude journal.

Set aside time, before you go to bed or first thing in the morning, to record just one thing you are grateful for. It could be anything; the way the sheets feel when they first come out of the dryer, your pet, or even just one person in your life. Do this at the same time every day to enmesh it into your daily routine as a habit, then challenge yourself to find more than one things to be grateful for, try to list as many as five, if you can.

Journaling like this demands us to eventually dig deeper and sift through the rubble Endometriosis has left us in, only to find the shimmering diamonds and rocks of gold that are already present in our lives.

Step two: Spread your sparkle.

Once you can identify what it is that you’re grateful for, tell those people how you feel and how what they did for you gives you a reason to smile every day. Maybe your partner brought you food when you were upset, or your cat laid with you during a flare-up, whatever/whoever it was that made you feel that spec of sparkle, share it with the one who made it happen.

And remember, the one thing we should be thankful for not just today, but every day is ourselves. Give yourself permission to do nothing. Know that what you’re doing is enough, because you are enough, and that’s enough to be thankful for.

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