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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.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • judy york
    5 years ago

    I am so thankful that I have chosen a all natural route to address my RA. I have been blessed with my inflammation to be completely under control by the natural ingredient ETArol. I also take a auto immune booster called Moducare. I have been able to continue my kayaking adventure for 10 straight months now, and it is a weekly adventure. Prior to my change from pharmaceutical medication to all nature medicine, I had no quality of life, and kayaking was not even a dream. God and all natural products have completely changed my everyday life!

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi Judy ~ I am so glad to hear that you have found something that works for you. It can sometimes be a long and frustrating process to find a medication that works, but most people with moderate to severe RA – including me – need to rely on medications to live with their RA symptoms. I hope that you will continue to see your rheumatologist regularly so that he/she can make sure you aren’t suffering from any long-term joint damage. That way you’ll be able to keep kayaking for a long time! ~:o)

  • Ava
    5 years ago

    I so enjoyed your article…with this disease it is easy to get caught up in all the pain…It is so true, you do realize which parts of your body are working an the parts that aren’t working so well…I, like you, have tried to be positive about the parts that ARE, working..You do realize things that you thought weren’t so important, like the working of my left hand..I am right handed, but after loosing some of my ability to use my left hand, you realize just how important it is, and how much your really do rely on that hand…Your knees, when your knees are aching so bad, an you can’t walk, it makes you scared, so instead of staying off them, I try to swim at least 3x weekly, because I don’t want to loose the ability to walk…Think positive, there is so much negativity attached to our disease, so find something positive about yourself, whatever that might be..Can you walk, be positive, can you see, be positive….I try to do at least one thing every day, If I can do more than I am very thankful, an not overdue…Positivity, is the key to keeping your head up, its hard, I don’t like being in pain every day either…but what is your option, just sitting back and letting it take over..NOT ME.. I will fight as hard, an long as I can…I will be the leader of my life, not this disease…May all that have this, find some positive aspect of your life, look, its there…Peace..

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator author
    5 years ago

    Hi Ava ~ It isn’t always easy, but I think you are right that thinking positive can make a huge difference in our lives! I am a fighter too but, for when we aren’t feeling our best, I am glad we can support each other! Hang in there!

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