Kristin discovers her sometimes incorrect perception of others
The great flare of 2010 has taught me a lot—for one, perception is reality. Or that is, your perception is yourreality. After one week of taking sick leave from work, I started to feel panic attacks. I didn’t want to let anyone down at work. I took one look at my calendar and saw endless personal and professional appointments that I would have to cancel and I immediately felt overwhelmed. It didn’t seem to matter that I had an ulcer on my index finger, had suffered high fever, was suffering from an infection and had fatigue and malaise so significant that I could barely get up off the couch. My need to get things done and be productive was kicking into overdrive and I didn’t want to let the world down!
So, I made assumptions—assumptions about how others felt about my situation. I assumed that my personal trainer would be upset with me for missing my training appointments week after week (it is her livelihood after all) and I sent her apologetic emails and told her I’d be back at one point when I clearly wasn’t ready. I even sent a super sappy Facebook message to my hair stylist after I had to cancel my appointment for the second time because my flare dragged on for longer than expected.
Would it surprise you that my fears were never realized in either of these situations? I assumed the worst—that they would be mad at me for a situation that was truly beyond my control—and they proved me wrong with their compassion and understanding. My past is littered with fearful individuals whose negative responses to my illnesses have built up my defenses (I’m talking to you Mr. Professor, who said I wasn’t really sick). But their negativity shouldn’t cast a long shadow on the bright, caring people who are now in my life. I think I owe it to myself and my health to expect the very best of those around me. What a different, healthier reality I may begin to see…..