The search for the new you after you experience a serious illness or injury and are living with the ongoing impact can feel so very hard. In some ways, you know you are still the person you were before. But in other ways, you’re not and you don’t recognise yourself. And you really don’t know how to conduct this search.
Many people I’ve spoken to feel this way. You’re not alone. It’s normal. So I want to give you six hints and tips as you conduct this search. To lessen the difficulty and frustration associated with it. To make it a bit easier. But this isn’t an exhaustive list.
The search for the new you does not result in an end destination
The new you isn’t out there just waiting to be discovered in a ‘ta da’ type of moment.
This search for the new you is a journey. How long that will take you I cannot predict. It’s different for every person. But I know this. You will get to a place where you feel comfortable in yourself and your life again. Here’s an example.
After my other half was diagnosed with type 2 insulin-dependent diabetes and we were busy making lifestyle changes regarding food and drink, he was frustrated and wondering how he could cope for the long haul.
Five years on, I reminded him of that question in the acute phase of his illness and asked him how he found things now. He was ok with things. Of course he wouldn’t have chosen this path for himself, but he didn’t have that choice. Despite that he got to a place where he was comfortable with his diet and how he was controlling the diabetes. He was ok with his new life.
The search for the new you requires you to go out and live your life
You need to get back out there and re-engage with life. To learn how to use your body again and become more comfortable in doing that, keep up with friends and/or make new friends, return to work and/or volunteering, to have hobbies, to love, to feel confidence again, to do errands, pay bills and the other mundane but necessary things we do in life, to enjoy your life.
The new you will unfold as you go out and live your life, try new things, experiment, fail, learn, try again and succeed.
The search for the new you doesn’t happen in a vacuum
You can end up struggling trying to do it all by yourself. Hence why re-engaging with life and others is crucial. Also, you are continually shaped by your experiences and relationships and you contribute towards the shaping of others in turn.
Many people I’ve spoken to have felt alone in their illness or injury because many people around them don’t have it and not everyone will understand or have empathy. So you have to go out there and find people like you, who are or have been in a similar place to you. There is often times bucket loads of understanding and empathy in these communities. You have to find your tribe.
Being part of a community we value gives us significance because we know we matter to others in that community. (From Esther Perel’s newsletter of 5th August 2019.) And they know they matter to you.
And don’t forget it’s ok to ask for help
And as I wrote about previously, becoming more accustomed to asking for and receiving help and support from others helps too.
Being intentional can help
This is about being intentional in your decisions, relationships, activities and more. After experiencing a life-changing health issue, you know the fragility of life.
So there is something about leaving behind worries over things which now feel small and unimportant. And focusing your energy on being the person you want to be, being with the people who lift you up, doing things that matter to you, and making a contribution to your corner of the world in the way you wish to.
How to be intentional
Each morning, consider your intention for the day – What will you give to your day so you can look back and feel, ‘That was a good enough day.’?.
If we focus on what we give to ourselves, our life, other people, our job, etc., we increase our chances of getting what we have been hoping for.
The search for the new you requires loads of self-compassion
This pic says it all. Shower yourself with self-compassion regularly.
Think of it as a meal. You have to feed yourself with compassion regularly and make sure you don’t go hungry or starve yourself.
Your new you is inside you
Waiting for you to let her out.
By actively re-engaging with your life and living it, you help her find the path to express herself.
By being intentional and purposeful, you shape her as she emerges and lives.
The search for the new you is actually a process of discovery.
What’s it like for you?
How is the search for the new you been going since the onset of your illness or injury? What are you finding difficult? And what have you found easier than expected? Share your thoughts or questions in the comments below or alternatively email them to me (contact form in sidebar).
If you are living with a challenging health issue or are caring for someone who is, and would like support on any of the issues discussed here, have a look at how we can work together and get in touch for a free no obligation consultation.
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© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2019