Posts Tagged ‘better life’

To have a better life, have different conversations

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

In my 11 years as a coach for people with chronic illnesses, and as someone who has a chronic illness himself, I have learned that having conversations is one of the best ways for us to make our lives better.

But in order for them to make our lives better, they need to be the right kinds of conversations, and they can’t be with just anyone. In fact, the conversations I’m referring to aren’t ones with another person.

At this point, you’re likely wondering just who or what I’m suggesting that you have a conversation with. My answer is: your organs that have been affected by your illness.

Now obviously, you can’t have verbal conversations with your organs. But you can ask them, again in a non-verbal way, what they want and what you can do for them.

When I have my clients do this, and when I do it myself, I have found that if after we ask we wait quietly, we almost always get an answer.

When a client of mine who, along with chronic fatigue, has digestive challenges asked her stomach what it wanted and how she could help it, the answer she got back was that it wanted attention, appreciation, and it wanted her to take better care of it by being more careful about what she ate.

Of course, the answer you get will depend on many factors, including what illness you have and which organs are affected.

One other conversation that both my clients and I have found helpful, and I think you will too, is a conversation with your illness. You can ask it what it wants you to know about why you have it, what if any life lessons it has for you, and what you can do to live better with it. If you do this, you will very likely be surprised at how much the answers you get help you to live a better life.

Please note: while these conversations with your organs and your illness can be very helpful, they are not intended to be used as a substitute for any medical care or treatments you are receiving.


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A Million Dollars Worth of Ideas to Make Your Life a Lot Better

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

This post was inspired by a woman in an online support group that I participate in.  Carol (not her real name) wrote to say she needed to vent because her house had become a mess. Because of a flare, she wasn’t able to keep up with the housework, and her husband played computer games instead of helping out (he had been choosing computer games over helping with housework for several years). The first idea that came to my mind was that  they should find a marriage counselor, although I don’t know their  relationship issues so I don’t know if that would help.

But here’s an idea that I think would help. Maybe it will also help you, with whatever illness related problems you are facing. Imagine that I have a million dollars to give away. To win that money, all you need to do is think of  good ideas  to make your life better. For every one you think of, I will give you $50,000. Just one small catch: the ideas can’t cost more to implement than you can afford right now. Even with that restriction, I bet that you could win a lot of money from me – very likely the entire $1,000,000.

I think you’ll agree that in the sitation I just described, you would think of many ideas to make your life with a chronic illness better – and if you agree, then we both know that you can come up with many good ideas for improving your life. I encourage you to give this game a try, because even though the prize money is imaginary, the improvement in your life that you will experience will be very real.

If Carol gives this a try and shares her results, which I hope she does, I’ll let you know how she does.

Bill Clinton said it

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

There is a phrase Bill Clinton is known for – a phrase that helped him get elected in 1992. He first said it to an unemployed man at a town hall meeting, and then repeated it in other situations during his campaign. The phrase I’m referring to is: “I feel your pain,” and it can help you feel better.

I know that many of you are in pain. Some of you are in a lot of pain. I have a suggestion for you that has helped my clients, and I’m confident it will help you too: say Clinton’s famous phrase out loud, in the bathroom, to your own reflection in the mirror. Say it at least once, and preferably several times, each day. And when you do, say it because you mean it, and not because you want to be elected President  🙂   (my attempt at humor notwithstanding, it’s really important that when you tell yourself that you feel your pain, you really mean it).

If you’re curious about why I give this suggestion to my clients with chronic illnesses and am giving it to you now, here’s the reason: I’ve learned that people with chronic illnesses often don’t let themselves feel or acknowledge their pain. And when they don’t, they are much less likely to treat themselves with gentleness and understanding or give themselves the compassion they need and deserve.

I know from my years of coaching that giving yourself compassion and understanding–which starts with feeling your own pain–is one of the most important things you can do for yourself to have a better life. I hope you’ll try it and see for yourself.