Love Your Body
Your body is completely amazing. Every single day your joints and muscles and organs and glands and nerves work together to keep you going. Each individual part of your body works as part of a small miracle every day. And I think the vast majority of people take their bodies for granted.
Take your hips, for example. This big joint is an important connection between various parts of your body, and the different positions your hips can get into are completely necessary to get through your day, every single day. Your hips help you stand in the shower or in line at the grocery store. They help you to sit down on the toilet and stand up again. Your hips help you walk and they help you climb up and down stairs. They lower you into chairs and into your car. They let you stretch out on the couch to watch TV. They let you sit cross-legged on the floor. They allow you to stretch out in your bed at night. And they are a huge part of other things you might do with your partner in bed at night!
But when was the last time you thought about your hips and what they do for you every day? Maybe you’ve never thought about your hips at all.
Personally, I don't think I ever thought about what my hips do for me until they were in a large amount of pain. It wasn’t until it hurt to do all of the things I mentioned above that I realized how important my hips were to my everyday life. And, when I did come to that realization, my first reaction was to be annoyed and frustrated by the difficulties my painful hips were causing me. It didn’t occur to me to be grateful for the hundreds and hundreds of days where my hips do work properly without any thought from me.
Another good example is your non-dominant hand. I am left-handed so I pretty much always assumed that my right hand wasn’t particularly useful. It wasn’t until I started experiencing RA pain in my right wrist and fingers that I realized how many millions of things I do with my right hand every single day.
For starters, my right hand contributes to countless two-handed tasks on a daily basis. Typing. Texting. Holding a glass while pouring something. Pulling up and buttoning my pants. Putting my shoes on and tying them. Putting my hair in a ponytail. And then there are things that are typically done right-handed, like shaking hands or using a mouse. But as I dealt with RA pain in my right hand, I also noticed that I tend to open doors with my right hand instead of my left. I use my right hand to turn the ignition in my car, take the parking break off, shift gears, and unbuckle my seatbelt. I also found myself opening bottles and jars with my right hand. And changing the song on my iPod. And unzipping my purse. I may be left-handed, but it turns out that my right hand does a lot of work for me every single day! And I didn’t notice any of these important contributions to my life until it hurt to do them.
In a strange way, I think my RA pain has taught me just how amazing my body really is. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that I want this pain or that it is easy to deal with it. It isn’t. In fact, I think it is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. And of course I am always wishing to be in less pain.
But what I am saying is that instead of getting upset and angry at my body for all of the pain, I now try to be more grateful for all the things I can do and any day that I am able to spend without pain, or even with less pain. My body may not be perfect, but it is the only one I have. That’s why I try, every day, to love my body and be thankful for it. To appreciate all the amazing things my body does for me every day. I will admit this isn’t always easy to do, especially on days when I am in a large amount of pain. But I still try. And I like to think that sending positive, grateful vibes to my body will help me get through the pain more than feeling frustrated and upset.
On a scale of 1(low) to 5(high), how difficult is it for you to talk about having RA?