Special Articles - Lydia's Insight



Many a time when I’m not feeling well and when asked how I am, I am hesitant to reply because I’m not sure what to say. If I say I’m having a rough day I may get a sympathetic response or gee, you could have fooled me because you look great. It’s almost as if I am not permitted to look good if I’m not well. An unwritten law that states sick people have to look sick.

One day when this happened I decided to make a list of how I could make myself look sick and actually wrote down the things I thought would help. Don’t wash and comb my hair, wear absolutely no make up, no matter what, don’t smile, speak in a monotone with a pathetic voice, wear unbecoming clothes and walk haltingly and hesitatingly.

I had fun making the list and then started thinking about even if I were to take such drastic steps of looking the part, what would it accomplish? First of all, I would feel absolutely terrible about myself but even if I did not, would it make me feel better if people told me how terrible I looked? I realized it would not.

I started to think that maybe I was taking the person’s remark out of context and decided to think about it in another way. Rather than thinking that the person means I can’t be sick as I didn’t look it, perhaps the person is saying it’s okay, you look better than you feel. When I looked at it that way, I felt I should give myself credit for this accomplishment in that I managed not to show how difficult it was to make myself presentable. I had succeeded.

We never give ourselves credit for what we manage to do on a daily basis. The courage it takes to face a day and make the most of it. Yes, we will have days we cannot manage and days when life seems just too much and we feel we cannot go on. It takes strength to endure and for that we need to take credit. Stop thinking you have failed because you didn’t finish what you started or you couldn’t start at all.

The fact you tried is the important goal.

Lydia Neilson