Many people have come to me asking how I stay so positive, even with a chronic illness. I will be honest, it isn't easy. And there are some days I am so sad and the negativity kicks in. But when I started to realize most of my days were turning into that negative, dark place, I knew I had to change.
But how do you do that?
I started with social media. Seeing as this is where I spend a lot of my time. You might not even realize it but a lot of the people there are toxic. I began to find many friends suffering just like me but quickly realized just because they are suffering too, does not mean we should be friends. And I mean this in the nicest way possible. Constantly seeing people post the negative of our illness became depressing. I understand wanting to raise awareness, but seeing someone heading to the ER everyday for pain became too much. Seeing posts that always said "I can't do this" or "I can't do that", began to stay with me. I started telling myself that everyday.
It became unhealthy. It became so unhealthy that I was falling into depression. And it almost became an illness in itself. I was becoming addicted to these sad stories. Because it felt like that was why I wasn't accomplishing or being successful with anything in my life. So I decided I needed to start to unfollow people who just made me so sad. This included all the chronic illness support groups I was following also, because they were becoming just as depressing.
And it didn't just have to be those with illnesses. It was those who may have never suffered with an illness, but knew exactly how to cure me. It was influencers who photoshopped pictures to make it look like they lost 20 pounds from eating gummy bears. It was old friends who just never talk to me anymore. Whatever and whoever had an ounce of toxicity to them, were removed.
Removing toxic people from social media was great, but this meant I also needed to remove people outside of social media who were no longer on the same page as me. This meant defriending people I worked with, because they just did not get me and brought more negative to my life than good. Defriending family members who brought me stress. And just stopping any relationships that were not serving me.
Removing toxic people takes time and is not something that will just happen over night. It's hard. Especially when you know you have to remove someone that may be dear to you. Part of what keeps me positive daily is the fact these people are no longer in my life. That I am not seeing that constant negativity. And if it shows up (because trust me, it always will), I repeat the process.
Dealing with a chronic illness can be so difficult to handle. And all that extra negativity can just make it so much worse. No one is perfect. But you can decide who you let in your life. Who you want to interact with daily. Who gives you the strength you need to get by.
1) Don't feel guilty - People change. Their wants and needs change. You are not abandoning someone if they no longer serve you. Allow yourself to honor your life and your path that you are choosing for yourself.
2) Bring in positivity- You get to choose who you surround yourself with. You just made room. Find people that bring you joy, happiness, encourage you, support you and believe in you.
3) Know you are worth it - being able to remove toxic people from your life starts with you realizing you deserve happiness. That you are worthy of being happy and finding others who want to be happy with you.
4) You are not a bad person- Removing people from your life can seem cruel. Just remember, you don't have to be friends with everyone. Just because someone suffers the same illness, likes the same movie or has mutual friends; doesn't mean you have to be bff. It also doesn't mean you are mean or not caring. I have had a lot of people with endometriosis unfollow me. And it was hurtful until I realized, we just didn't have the same outlook on life. Or we did, and we gradually started to change. That's ok.
5) You don't have to remove every single person in your life- At first I felt I needed to start fresh. Forget everyone I ever knew. But that isn't the point of removing toxic people from your life. You are always going to have family, friends or those close to you that will make you angry. That's life. Remove only those that truly do not serve you and truly do not make you happy.
It's not easy but filling my life with positive people, people who get me, people who share same interests, goals, dreams, desires; all have been one of the many ways I stay positive daily. You can do it too. Think about a toxic relationship you are dealing with in your life. Whether it is on social media or off. Are you ready to let it go? To make room for something less toxic? Remember, you choose your own happiness. Don't let anyone else decide that for you.