Living a life of thanks with Multiple Sclerosis

Being thankful when you’re hurting seems like an impossible thing to do. How in the world can anyone live a life of gratitude in the middle of a life of pain? You may be looking at everything happening in your life right now and thinking I’m crazy to even suggest such a thing. Being thankful with Multiple Sclerosis on top of everything else going on in life? Yeah, right!

When you look around all you see is pain and hard times. You can’t see anything worthy of thanks. Tears happen way more than smiles. I get it. I understand how overwhelming and difficult it is to live a life of constant change and uncertainty.

Do this for me…take a moment, pause and look back at your life. Look at everything you have come through over the years. You have faced circumstances that seemed impossible to others as well as yourself, but you made it through those times. You have seen heartaches and heartbreaks. You have walked through hell itself more than once. Most of those times you don’t want to relive, but as you look back you find things to give thank for. After all, you endured and didn’t give up. The strength and wisdom you gained during those times are lessons worthy of thanks and gratitude.

Giving thanks when you’re hurting is something most people don’t want to do, just like most don’t want to go to the dentist for a root canal or start a new diet, but the rewards are worth it. You can’t give up hope and allow the weight of your current circumstances keep you from seeing that life is filled with more than just momentary pain. It’s filled with beauty too.

Pain has a way of changing our lives for the good if we let it. You don’t have to give thanks for Multiple Sclerosis, but you can be grateful for the things it has taught you and continues to teach you. When you approach life with that kind of thinking, you find that being thankful is not only possible but doable.

Find three things you are thankful for today. You can have a hundred thing to want to complain about but choose to focus on those three good things. Tomorrow do the same thing…then the next day and the next day do it again. I challenge you to a week of gratitude. Can you make it through an entire week focusing on things each day worthy of thanks?

I’ll start…three things I’m thankful for today
1. a good cup of coffee to wake me up after a night of no sleep.
2. the beautiful people in my life that go out of their way to help me do the things I can no longer do.
3. that my move to Alabama went well and I’m starting to get my house organized and feeling like home.

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About the Author
About the Author
Penelope Conway

Penelope Conway
Penelope started Positive Living with MS as a way to help others with MS stay positive in the midst of a terrible disease. She believes that staying positive and holding onto hope is the key to waking up each morning with the strength to get through the day. Multiple Sclerosis may never go away, but neither will her determination and her drive to help others through the journey.

15 replies
  1. Mary
    Mary says:

    What am I grateful for?
    My relationship with the Lord shows me many MS mini-miracles every day . Do you focus on the positive?
    My local MS support group. This community of people who “get it”. I don’t have to explain anything. An MS important group is the best resourse for emotional support.
    A Husband who remembered his vows when this diagnosis was given. “In sickness and in health.”
    I know of women who have been deserted.
    Friends who have gone above and beyond to keep me in the stream of life .
    A certain black standard poodle who came to me just when my life began to unravel.
    This blog comment could go on for a long time because I am so grateful!

  2. MS Unites says:

    My dear dear girl… Do you not know my story? I do not personally know you. Let me tell you what I see from the outside looking in and I am a pretty spiritual lady (quite actually). I see someone who tells others what is within her and draws outward what is within them. I see her do this for many many people. I see her make others laugh in the face of that which is difficult to find humor in. I see her as a volcano of honesty with no malice to be found. I see a soul that cries out to say, “I am here. There is much that tries to defeat me but I have already won” and inspires others to come towards the walls and speak. Already won? Yes. I know how it feels looking outward from within and we do not often see what others do. Who you are is a victory and if you want proof look at all of those here who respond to you. In the face of a miserable disease and in the midst of it yourself you touch others lives and they yours. You are unique and brilliant.

  3. Camil N Lonnie King says:

    You have to have a positive outlook on life. People question me all of the time. My normal is someone else’s “terror ” or “end of the world” as they put it. I choose to be happy and prioritize. Things could be allot worse.

  4. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    A good philosophy to use every day.I have been through hell itself and still survived. When I got married I had no idea what I was getting into, but after several suicide attempts and long nights not knowing where I will be etc and the lose of countless babies to a dysfunctional body due to abuse it seems MS is not that bad. You have led me to something I was trying not to do but that’s ok.

  5. Mary Brooks
    Mary Brooks says:

    Penelope! Love this. It’s been a theme of mine to focus on gratitude, as no matter what we are going through, if you can shift your focus to thinking about something you are grateful for it really does change the mood. It’s rather amazing. I have done a 30 day gratitude challenge in the past, even though I find that I repeat myself with the things I’m grateful for. Yesterday, I posted on my FB page that I had a moment of gratitude rush over me so hard that I felt it physically, it gave me goosebumps! I was thinking about my friends and some of them who have some very exciting things going on in their lives. Instead of feeling sad that I don’t have these things going on, I felt happy. Happy to see them happy, happy that I am still alive and can witness their successes, happy that I can cheer them on. Just happy, and so grateful that they are in my life loving and supporting me. Gratitude truly is key. This is a beautiful blog!

  6. Michelle Rathbun says:

    Agreed. While I’m not grateful for my MS, I am grateful that it forced me to reevaluate my priorities. I am my first priority now, followed closely by family and good friends. Everything else is much less important than I had previously believed.

  7. Leah
    Leah says:

    I do apply this philosophy everyday. I am grateful for having a wonderful husband, sleeping in when there are those who need to get up and go to work, living in a beautiful condo that has an indoor swimming pool and elevators. For this and much more…I am very thankful. I am especially grateful to read your daily posts too!

  8. Petra Coetzee
    Petra Coetzee says:

    Amen and AMEN!!! With Him in your life we have so much to be thankful for and it’s our choice how we deal with things 😉

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