I send out biweekly tips for how to have a better life when you have a chronic illness (if you would like to get them, you can sign up for them here). I sent the following tip about three months ago. If you’re curious about why I’m posting my tip to my blog, you can skip to the end to find out – but I encourage you to read it first.
I know, from coaching clients as well as from my own experience, that it’s not uncommon for those of us with chronic illnesses to feel guilty because of how much help we often need from our partners. We may also feel guilty because we can’t help them nearly as much as we could when we were healthy, and we can’t do all the things with them that we formerly could. If you sometimes feel this kind of guilt, here are some tips to help you lessen or eliminate it.
First, please give yourself lots of compassion. Have compassion for the part of yourself that needs help, but isn’t able to do as much for your partner as you want to because of your illness. Also have compassion for that part of yourself that feels guilty. They both deserve all the compassion you can give them, and lots of hugs too. I recommend that you give them at least three compassionate hugs a day.
Second, be sure to let your partner know how grateful you are for all the help he or she gives you. Everyone – including your partner – feels good when they do things that other people appreciate, so expressing your appreciation can more than offset the time and energy your puts into helping you.
And third, look for ways that you can give back your partner. Those ways can be as simple as giving your him or her a little more listening and understanding when they’ve had a hard day at work, renting a movie they’ve wanted to watch, or just rubbing their shoulders.
I hope you found this helpful. And now I see some shoulders nearby that could use some rubbing and a gentle massage.
This post is my entry in February’s Health Activist Blog Carnival. If you’re interested in participating too, you can read all about it here: http://blog.wegohealth.com/2010/02/introducing-health-activist-blog.html.