Do You Have Something to Get Better For?

Have you ever thought about what you would do if got well? I haven’t done a scientific survey, but my sense from all those with chronic illness I’ve talked with is that most people haven’t.

Of course you want to get as well as you can. But what if the likelihood that you will get better depends on knowing what you will do if you do get better?

For a long time, I’ve had a strong sense that things do work that way: knowing what we do if we get better increases the probability that we will. But a new client I’ll call Karen, who suffers from chronic fatigue, described that sense better than I have. She said, “I have known that I won’t get better until I have something to get better for.”

Because of the situation another client—I’ll call her Terry–was in, I shared what Karen said with her. She was almost crying as she responded, saying that while she hadn’t realized it before, what Karen said was also true for her.

Is what is true for Karen and for Terry also true for you? I’m sure that for many of you, the answer is yes. And if your answer is yes, congratulations! By saying so, you’ve taken a big step toward getting better and having a better life.

The next step for Karen, for Terry, and for you if your answer was yes, is to find a “something to get better for.” Unfortunately, our upbringing, our roles (especially women’s roles care taking, nurturing, and people others first), and our illnesses can make it hard for us to do that. But when put our intention on finding a solution and we don’t censor ourselves, we humans are very creative – that’s how we’re made.

One pitfall some people fall into when trying to come up with a solution to a problem like this is thinking they have to get it right the first time. You don’t! If you try something and you find it’s not very enjoyable or fulfilling, then congratulate yourself. You’ve learned something about yourself, and you can use that new knowledge to find your “something to get better for.”

Best wishes in your quest!

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2 Responses to “Do You Have Something to Get Better For?”

  1. cinderkeys says:

    I really want this to be true, but I don’t think so. The people I know who are sick have dreams just like everybody else. Saying that they can get better if they have a reason to implies that recovery is just a matter of will.

  2. Tom Robinson says:

    Hi Cinderkeys,

    Thank you for your comment. While I understand what you’re saying, I know in my gut that people get better when they have something to get better for. However, that does not mean they will recover completely from their illness. How much a person recovers depends on many factors, some of which are within their control and others which are not. Rather than being just a matter of will, I think recovery comes from desire, intention, and openness. Having something to get better for can increase all three.

    We all have dreams, but they don’t automatically qualify as “something to get better for. ” In order to be that, a dream has to be something we believe we have a good chance of achieving. If we don’t, then we need to modify it so that we do (that’s where being creative can be a big help). Here’s a post I wrote three years ago about a moving story of someone finding something to get better for when doing that didn’t seem possible: Feeling wonderful in spite of having a chronic illness.

    Take care!


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