My ABCs of Gratitude: Reflections of an MS Warrior (Continued)

Teresa Wright-Johnson avatar

by Teresa Wright-Johnson |

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gratitude, new year

In last week’s column, I shared what I called my ABCs of gratitude. In the past few days, I’ve had to revisit my list several times. This was a distressing week. Even more perplexing is my inability to determine the exact cause of my anguish. I could not surmount unrelenting sadness and an aura of melancholy. After talking it through and reflecting on my list, I was able to get through the mystifying time. Employing gratitude does not thwart us from sadness. It serves to encourage us to shift focus. Thus, here is the remainder of my ABCs of gratitude:

Never compare yourself to another. I am an individual, unique in design. To liken myself to anyone is self-defeating and emotionally depleting.

Optimism is golden. A positive attitude is good for the mind, body, and soul.

Peace is prosperity and its benefits are immeasurable. I am inclined to make better decisions when I am in a peaceful state. I also suss ed that protecting my peace entails withdrawing from people and circumstances that compromise it.

Quality outweighs quantity. I was once fixated on the number of years I’d live to see. Death was a recurring theme. I recognize that my preoccupation with dying was preventing me from fully living. Today, those thoughts may visit at times, but they pass. What is of utmost importance is the manner in which I live and what I accomplish with the time I have now. My life is about legacy.

Realize that you are born to thrive. My gifts and talents are exclusively for me. I am obligated to use them appropriately. I will prosper through pain, illness, and adversity.

See the possibilities instead of the problems. When self-pity arrives to count my woes, I consider and chronicle the defeats. Problems are inexorable. At times a winning attitude is essential.

Take all the time you need. I am entitled to feel, grieve, and experience life on my terms. No one gets to decide that for me.

Understand the process. There were conditions in my life that ventured to void me of everything I believed to be true. Challenges that jeopardized my physical, spiritual, and mental health. My spirit has confirmed that these obstacles were allowed. They are part of my process, and eventually I will reap the rewards of labor that exceeds human comprehension. I am living with authenticity, compassion, and purpose. Through the process, my vision has been realized.

Value your loved ones. I would not be who I am today without the love and encouragement of a strong support system. I am immeasurably grateful for those in my life who are uplifting and supportive.

When needed, ask for help. I ascertained that I am not an island and there are times when I need assistance. Illness at times causes me to question my independence. I struggle with pride and a strong will. I am discovering that pride has its place, yet so does vulnerability and the discernment to recognize when help is needed.

XOXO unsparingly. A little reach here, yet the sentiment is genuine. Neither I or my loved ones will live forever. My time with them is precious and I want our memories filled with hugs and kisses galore.

You are worthy. I am worthy of love and respect. I am worthy of the freedom to live without discrimination based on my race, health, gender, or religion. My value does not come from the opinions of others; it comes from deep within.

Zealously live your truth. I am bold and empowered. My story is copy written and my life is trademarked. No one else can live or speak my truth. I will continue to share without fear or condemnation.

As we bid farewell to 2017, let’s remember the lessons and the blessings revealed. Life is challenging, yet it is sacred and beautiful. Yesterday has gone, today is a present, and if we are privileged to see tomorrow, we can aspire to become better versions of ourselves. I have enjoyed journeying with you thus far, and you’ve blessed my life more than you know. If by chance the new year arrives without me, I pray that I have left an imprint on your heart, a sparkle in your soul, and a reason to hope. Best wishes to all.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.


Beth Slusher avatar

Beth Slusher

What a great article. Asking for help is difficult when you have always been the helper. I am getting better at it. It has also been hard on those around me when I have said no and they take it personally when it, of course, has nothing to do with that.

Teresa Wright-Johnson avatar

Teresa Wright-Johnson

Hi Beth,
Thanks so much! I appreciate your response. Yes, asking for help is difficult for many of us, yet it is necessary. Like you, I am getting better at it as well. MS continues to teach me. Take care of yourself and thanks for reading the column. Best wishes to you in the new year.

frank carlin avatar

frank carlin

I`ve become interested in MS since a friend of mine was diagnosed several years ago. I like to read the human stories of people afflicted with MS.I admire the courage and resourceful of many of them.I am going to celebrate 33 years of sobriety next month. I am also recovered from schizophrenia,(Due to advances in medicine and the discovery of the process of neuroplasticity within the brain, about 15% of schizophrenics do recover. Plenty of info on the web about this.) I mention all this because the key is reach8ing out for help. Many of us like myself, who have done this find that each time one reaches out it becomes a little easier. I see many examples of what I call "walking miracles" because of one time summoning the courage to reach out. Eventually we find others reaching out to us. I say without a doubt that today my life is a "miracle". Enjoy your writings. Keep on trucking.


Teresa Wright-Johnson avatar

Teresa Wright-Johnson

Hi Frank,
Thank you so much for your response and for sharing your story. You are brave and courageous. Like you, I am drawn to human stories of daily living with chronic illness and life in general. I totally agree that reaching out for help is key for personal and collective upliftment. There is power in numbers and we all need someone. I hope to continue to inspire you and others in the new year. Thanks for pouring into my spirit. Blessings to you, your family and friends.


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