Being hopeful isn’t always easy, especially with chronic illness. Chronic conditions are hard and you can frequently feel as if you’re at breaking point. Doing ‘normal’ basic tasks can feel like a continuing battle and a constant struggle every day. So how does one stay hopeful?

Let’s start with this quote by Helen Keller:

The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.

Struggling and pain are apart of life. But struggling and pain can teach us so much. Good can come out of our struggles – if we let it. I have suffered with chronic illness for most of my life but it wasn’t severe until not long after my 18th birthday. I became unable to walk, sit or shower and I could have fallen into a deep hole when this happened. After the initial shock and upset; the grieving for the life I had, and what I could have had – I decided to accept life as it came. This was how it was going to be.

A few months into my ‘new’ life I began to realize that I had to create my own hope and happiness in an isolated world. And so began the birth of my blog and Instagram: FindYourOwnHope. I decided I needed to create some hope in order to keep going. Hope is something that is different for everyone and I believe it to be an extremely personal motivation. It has to be something specific to you, because it needs to keep YOU strong and encouraged through everything. I have found many hopes to fuel me over time, but the hope that things will work out has always been my primary basic hope – it is a bit vague and in order for this to work, I needed to set goals to change my life.

Many things in life are out of our control, but something we do have control over is our outlook. We can change our perspective and this can dramatically change our lives.  Keller’s quote above seems contradictory – how can struggling be a blessing? As I said before, pain and struggles are apart of life but as Haruki Murakami said “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” We can experience tough times but we don’t have to dwell on them. We can use them to teach us how to live our lives better. In my experience, I learned to appreciate the smaller things in life to a much larger extent. This was only after I becoming extremely unwell but it remains to be the most important thing I have learned.

Writing a list of things you have gained since becoming ill is a good place to start. Some of these things might be: perseverance or strength or that you picked up crafts or got to read more books.

Then write a list of things: short-term and long-term that you want to achieve. I say list but you only need ONE thing in order to help change your perspective. Work towards these small goals and accept the obstacles as they come, don’t let them deter you – rest when you need rest but don’t give up – keep on trying.

Start viewing struggles as opportunities to grow and learn and twist your weaknesses into strengths. Because there is always hope. I have found it and this means you can as well. It’s not easy but it is worth the time and effort to find hope because once you do it makes everything in life a little easier.

Hi! – I’m Susie! An Australian blogger and chronic illness fighter sharing my journey of finding hope and enjoying life’s simple pleasures.