You are stronger than you think

There are so many things that I’m thankful for. I could list the usual: family, friends, warm fuzzy slippers and coffee…but those things seem so shallow to me now. Not because they aren’t important, but because my focus has shifted greatly over the past several years.

This morning, as I sat asking myself why I’m thankful, a flood of thoughts came to my mind. I have seen people faced with terrible circumstances who have become bitter in the process, and I have seen others rise above their challenges and become a light and a source of hope to the world around them. Which am I? Which are you?

As someone living with multiple sclerosis, I can remember the very day I sat in the doctor’s office when he gave me the unwelcomed news that I have MS. I went through a full range of emotions in the weeks that followed from denial, to pain, to anger, to peace. It was a shocking blow to my life and something that I never saw coming. I had plans and MS wasn’t one of them.

It’s been a hard road. I have had to learn to adjust the way I do just about everything because even the simplest of things have become challenging. But I refuse to give up. I refuse to let MS keep me from being thankful…or from living.

The questions that I’ve asked myself even just recently have been simple. If I didn’t have one single family member to stand by me at this time, could I be thankful? If I didn’t have one friend to call on for encouragement, could I be thankful? If I didn’t have my warm fuzzy slippers to bring a feeling of comfort to my body, could I be thankful? And God forbid, if I didn’t have my morning coffee, could I be thankful? I’m sure you could ask your own questions here too.

I have learned to be thankful in all circumstances. To look this disease of MS square in the eyes and say, “I am not defeated because of you. I am thankful for each new day I am given.”

We will never understand all the “why’s” in life.  It’s time to stop questioning why you are going through the storm you are currently facing and determine to be thankful as you go through. You can be thankful even in the most horrible of circumstances, but it’s a choice; and you can make that choice today. You can stand up (even if only on the inside) and say, “I refuse to be defeated by MS.”

For me, I’m thankful for my weakness; I’m thankful for the difficulties…because they show me just how strong I truly am. Sure, I have days when I lose it and break down in a puddle of tears, but I also have days when I can hold it together.  I have learned that strength isn’t measured by the amount of things I can do or how little I cry, it’s determined by the attitude that I have while going through the storms in life.

You are stronger than you think. Square your shoulders back and hold your head up high today because you are STRONG! Find something to be thankful for even in the storm. Have your moment of tears then wipe them away because today is a new day to be thankful for.

MS Gets on My NervesMS WarriorMS Superhero  

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.

20 replies
  1. Angela M. Kirby
    Angela M. Kirby says:

    I always read your inspirational and positive blogs before going to sleep. This is particularly beautiful read to end the day. Thank you – I,m thankful that I’m in bed, toasty warm, while the snow falls outside!

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Hi Penelope I have good memories of my first ‘encounter’ with anyone. It came on fairly quickly and I didn’t have much time to think about it. The hard part I had to do was to get my employer to fire me so my Income Protection kicked in. Talk about having to burn bridges that is what it felt like.
    Just a couple of days ago I thought about all I had lost.not just with MS but all other circumstances in life and then I thought what have I gained. In that I feel better and have decided to live with and not try and live without MS. After 15yrs I saw what I had done.
    Keep each positive action in your memories and they are the one to look to.

  3. Laurie Demers
    Laurie Demers says:

    I am very thankful for you Penelope. I cannot tell you the difference that your positive living posts have made in my life. I am newly diagnosed this year, and after the beginning emotions, I had to try to take control. One of those things is to try to be thankful for something in my life. Your words are always something I am thankful for. They mean a lot and often speak exactly to what I need to hear that day 🙂
    I live in Northern Ontario in Canada, and can feel isolated with this disease, but this is the one place I come to and feel at home.
    Thank you so much for your work in encouraging the rest of us 🙂

  4. Leah
    Leah says:

    Penelope, you couldn’t be more right! MS has made me stronger, much more grateful and thankful than I’ve ever been. I live for now…the present. Tomorrow is another day that I’ll contend with when it arrives. Thank you for your wise and encouraging words…you are a blessing!

  5. Samantha Blair
    Samantha Blair says:

    Thank you so much. You are so right and I identify with everything. I have lost/am losing a lot of things but I will always stay thankful and keep smiling x

  6. Paulette Brown
    Paulette Brown says:

    You are so right- thankfulness is a CHOICE! as is happiness- No I am not in denial, MS sucks, but I can still choose to be happy and thankful.

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