Saturday, March 22, 2014

Limitations are only what you make them to be

The biggest struggle with having Lymphedema has been the feeling of limitation that results from the condition. I feel it every day from my energy level to what I can wear to running on a treadmill. Many days I define myself by these limitations just out of habit. The problem is that when you focus on what can't be done, there won't be an attempt to try something more challenging or to try to instead find success. On the days when I did not bind myself to my perception of what I could or could not accomplish, I found success and opportunities. For example, for years I wouldn't try to run because a doctor told me that I should not. When I tried a little each day to run, I ended up completing a 5k race. Instead of it making my condition worse, it did not impact it. The same thing happened when I tried spinning. The result was I was in better shape, feeling less stress and felt more control in my Lymphedema leg because I was stronger.

In the past year, I got married to a wonderful man and went on a honeymoon trip in a tropical place. I think back to one of my first posts and that was exactly what I had wanted for my life rather than hiding in my home because of shame for having this condition. I don’t think anyone can blame us for having feelings of shame or days where we don’t feel we can accomplish much because of pain but let them be passing moments so you can experience opportunities that you didn’t think possible. On this honeymoon trip, I went hiking in a rainforest with capri workout pants and my stocking showing. I got a few stares but I wasn’t there for anyone but for my husband and me to experience hiking in a rainforest.

This post came from a particularly rough week with work. I let myself feel disappointed in what I was capable of. Then I started to think about all of my limitations. The same result will happen as it did with my Lymphedema if I keep this up. If I think only of what I can’t do, I don’t even think of what I may be able to do. I don’t want to spew a ton of positive thinking clich├ęs because positive thinking is just that, thinking. It’s not doing. It’s not getting out there and trying something for the sake of seeing if you’re good at it or capable of it, instead it’s sitting there with thoughts in your head. Positive thought will only get you so far. You have to actually go do it. You have to do things that are uncomfortable and hard. There are little rewards for easy opportunities. When things don’t go as planned or someone makes you feel less about yourself, it’s actually easier to think less of yourself. It’s a heck of a lot harder to challenge them and challenge yourself to achieve more.