Thursday, September 8, 2011

I See Healthy People

"He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything." ~ Arabic Proverb

A big realization hit me hard a few days ago.


Here it is...

I am envious of healthy people.

Not an easy thing to admit, even for someone like myself who is self-aware and pretty open about their faults. It's honest though. And now I feel guilty for even feeling that way. Despite seventy-three blog entries over the past year and a half that I have been blogging, I have never written about envy, jealousy or anything related to the topic. There is a reason for that. Envy is a desire for some advantage or quality that another person has. I don't typically think of myself as an envious person. I usually spend more time on making the best of what I have and that doesn't leave much room for wanting something that another person has.

Lately though I look at people I know (always people I know because I would never want to assume that someone is without health problems unless I know for sure) and I wonder. What is it like to just do what you want every day? To have day after day without pain? To not have to plan your week around appointments, medications, and treatments? I hope I don't sound bitter. I know the grass isn't always greener as they say. Everyone has their problems. And let me be clear: I WANT everyone I know to be as healthy as they can possibly be. But that doesn't change the fact that I would like to be in a healthy person's body for a hour...a minute. To have my body be free.

I also often wonder lately if healthy people appreciate what it is their bodies can do. The fact that their body takes them to work every day. The fact that their body can nourish and support a pregnancy. Do people appreciate being able to get up in the morning and know that no matter what they face during the day, their body will physically carry them through it?  I know I never gave it much thought before I got hit with an onslaught of medical issues.

 Do you appreciate it?

Do you take care of what you have and celebrate the uniqueness that is your body? Give it more fresh air and sunshine than fluorescent lights and recirculated air? More nutrients than toxic chemicals? More love than self-hate? It all seems so simple, yet many of us don't do these things for ourselves.

Maybe the best way for my body to be free is to first free my mind and my spirit, completely. Trust more in God. Work on ways to effectively cope. Make peace with the body I have been given. Celebrate when it gets me through a day.

It may just be time to turn the envy I have towards others into gratitude for myself.

Photo: Courtesy of Chuck Myers


  1. I have also realized that I get "health-envy" now and then, too -- especially when my friends and co-workers share stories about their active lifestyles and adventures. I have Sjogren's, fibromyalgia, and asthma, so there are things I may never do or places I may never go but I don't feel such a loss due to having the internet at my fingertips. "Health-envy" is tough when it rears its head but the reality is that I've been so fortunate in my own life to have the family and opportunities I do, that I can dissolve the envy into gratitude that others are able to do wonderful things without much effort. It also forces me to be more creative in my own life to find things that nourish my soul and give meaning to the less-than-stellar days. Best wishes as you continue your journey!

  2. Thank you both for your feedback! May we continue to be grateful for what we do have and not for what we don't have!!

  3. Tony Bernhard, in her book How To Be Sick, has some wonderful advice when it comes to this topic. She talks a lot about (and gives instruction "how to")turning those feelings of envy into feelings of Joy. She struggled with her husband being able to do the things she loved to do (mostly spend time with their granddaughter). She eventually learned how find joy in the joy of others. It's a practice I have FINALLY begun to feel naturally. For me, it was running. A life long runner, I could not stand to be around anyone who would run. I could not even support my husband - I was too full of envy. But after a year of working on this, I have finally come to a place where I truly feel the joy of others. And it's wonderful - because I almost feel as though I am living vicariously through those that I love - an endless supply of JOY! She wrote an article not too long ago for Psychology Today...
    It's a good example of what she talks about in more detail in her book.
    Wonderfully honest post Christine - thank you!!