How Chronic Illness Changed My Heart

Dare to Walk A Mile In Another's Shoes.

Walk A Mile In Another’s Shoes

Chronic illness has changed my outlook on life. To walk in the shoes of another even for a mile is hard to do. It is hard to place ourselves outside of our own perspectives.

As a person who suffers from multiple and often invisible debilitating chronic illnesses including Lyme disease, I see the importance of looking beneath the surface. It is so vital that we as a society are able to reach out and truly care about what others are going through. 

Whether it is just a temporary struggle or a long-term trial, everyone can benefit from simple encouragement. We need to realize that a smile or a gentle hand on a friend’s shoulder is worth its weight in gold. It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own daily struggles that we fail to realize there is a need for compassion all around us.

While not all pain is created equal, the human condition is an equality that is shared by us all. We all have the aptitude for feeling both pain and empathy.

How Chronic Illness Changed My Heart

How Chronic Illness Changed My Heart

Having an illness that is long-lasting and difficult if not almost impossible to cure adds a new perspective to life. It opens the windows of the heart to deeper care for others. It has helped me to realize that my own life although quite often a challenge could always be worse.

I am a proverbial counter of blessings. Looking for the lesson in each situation I have faced has helped me to find meaning behind my pain. While I realize that not everyone shares my perspective on suffering, I want to be that person who is the sunlight in life to others.

Like Mother Teresa so aptly put it, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”

While I know that everyone does not share the same beliefs, we can all be kind. We can all purpose that we will “be the difference” in another’s life.

There is a popular slogan within the Lyme community that says “Be kind for Lyme.” I would like to change that to “Be kind for life.” Although every illness has its own unique challenges, kindness transcends them all. A drop of kindness can heal a multitude of unseen wounds.

Counting The BlessingsHidden In Chronic Illness

Counting The Blessings Hidden In Chronic Illness

Even though I am not happy to be sick, I am thankful for the light my illness has shined on my own heart. Without the clear perspective of physical frailty, I may have missed the mark in valuing each new day.  I might have missed the value in a sincere hug or a warm thought.

Every day people die from chronic illness. Be the voice that says your life matters, you matter, I’m glad you are here.

Often the brightest smiles hide the deepest pain. The most encouraging people are the ones who have faced the most hardship. It is these people who realize that sunlight is only skin deep. That the issues of life are often directly beneath the surface.

The burdens of life are made much lighter by the strength of a friend’s shoulder, be that person in 2017! Be the one that says, “How are you,” and truly mean it. Be the one who makes a difference and dares to walk in another’s shoes, if only for a moment.

Happy New Year may it be filled with hope, healing and joy.

You can read more about my journey with Lyme Disease here: My Lyme Story Part I. and here: My Lyme Story Part 2 and here: Babesia My Experience.

Be Kind For Lyme Be Kind For Life.


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18 Responses to How Chronic Illness Changed My Heart

  1. Liz Wilcox says:

    Great way to turn something very hard into a positive. Love the Mother Theresa quote!

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Liz W.,
      Thank you for reading and your kind comment. That is my most favorite quote. =) Blessings, Valerie

  2. Priscilla says:

    So glad for your positive thinking. Love you Mom

  3. Lynn says:

    I love this positive light that you shine! It helps everyone; again, not just with chronic illness, but every aspect of life. Love you! Lynn

    • ValerieB says:

      Thank you so much dear Lynn. I feel the same way about you. xoxo Val

      • Lynn says:

        Thanks, Valerie. By the way, you do an awesome job with your photos. I am loving those boots and socks in the first picture! 🙂 Lynn

        • ValerieB says:

          Dear Lynn,
          Thank you! I have fallen in love with You should check it out! You can create really nice graphics for your blog, totally free! I love it!
          Blessings, Valerie

  4. Brenda says:

    That’s great you’re able to turn something bad into something good. It is very important to be kind to others because you never know what they’re going through. I try to think of the same thing when I’m subbing – that sometimes the worst behaved kid is the one that’s got something going on at home, and just needs some extra attention.

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Brenda,
      Thank you for your kind comment. That is so true about children, so often all they need is a bit of love and understanding.

  5. Tonya says:

    It really does change tour perspective and needs to be a constant choice to stay thankful

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Tonya,
      Remaining thankful through it all is so important. Sometimes I feel like I need constant reminders of the blessings I truly have. Thank you for your kind comment and for reading. Blessings, Valerie

  6. Donna says:

    This is wonderful. I definitely think that illness has made me a more caring and empathetic person, on a completely different level to before

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Donna,
      Thank you so much! I am thankful for the new perspective that chronic illness has given me. The silver lining in a sea of pain.
      Blessings for a wonderful new year,

  7. Lydia says:

    2016 was a hard year of illness for my family. 1/2 of that time was me dealing with unknowns and scary health issues. It was my chance to walk in the shoes of those with chronic illness, and I did find myself realizing that I’ve judged in the past. No more.
    Lydia recently posted…Monthly Money Tracker (Free Download)My Profile

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Lydia,
      I’m so sorry to hear that you had a difficult 2016. I know a lot of people did. It was a tough year. Dealing with illness just compounds an already stressful life. I hope 2017 is a year full of healing and joy for you. Thank you for your kind comment. Blessings, Valerie

  8. Kami says:

    So much truth shared here, Valerie. Your kindness and warmth most definitely shine through to me and others. Sickness has has brought many challenging changes, but I embrace the growth of empathy, compassion and further awareness of others and their pain.

    • ValerieB says:

      Dear Kami,
      Thank you for your kindness. I feel the very same about you. You have been a wonderful friend to me and such an encouragement. You do such a lovely job of helping others, a real inspiration. xoxo Valerie

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