Our experience of life is often contributed to luck. The typical view is that our experience is a result of what happens to us. That life is random, that some people are just “born lucky.” But the truth is we contribute to everything we experience in life. While we can’t necessarily control what happens to us, we can control how we respond.
Life deals the cards, but it is up to us how we play them.
Personally, life dealt me with a genetic condition and rare autoimmune disease that rendered me unable to digest food properly and nearly killed me. To top this off, due to the rarity of the conditions I was initially misdiagnosed with anorexia nervosa and forced into a dismal inpatient facility which unfortunately caused my health to deteriorate even further.
Most would call these pretty rotten cards! I certainly used to. For quite some time I was stuck in what I like to call “woe-is-me mode.” “Why are you doing this to me?” was the question I kept asking life. I had a long pity party over my predicament.
But as time went on, I realised that not only was this perspective unhelpful it was harmful. The illness and mistreatment were inevitable but being grumpy and miserable were optional. My mindset was hurting me just as much as my circumstances.
“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.” - Bob Bitchin
From then on, I decided to make the best of the situation. I made a poster with the quote above on it to serve as a reminder. Comically, my first opportunity to practice this came when the poster was chewed up and destroyed during lamination. Rather than getting upset I instead chose to laugh at the irony of what had happened.
This mindset stuck. While I consider the 2 months, I spent in the facility one of the worst times in my life, I also consider it one of the best. The acceptance, resilience and compassion that I developed from the experience have enhanced the rest of my life. The diseases did not go away, in fact, they progressed. But thanks to these qualities, I managed to not only survive but to thrive.
From challenging cards, you learn and become a better player.
Kristie is another wonderful example. She didn’t choose the eating disorder, but she made the best of it. Not only did she choose to recover but she chose to use her experience to help others do the same.
Life gave you an eating disorder. What are you going to do with it?