Using Spoons Wisely: Intentional Socializing
Early on in my journey of AS, I was trying to please everyone. Despite at the time struggling both physically and emotionally, I would suppress it and do everything I could to be out socializing and saying yes to everything.
Feelings of resentment
This eventually led to becoming resentful towards others and feeling like it was all too much. So instead of doing less, I did nothing at all. I withdrew socially and didn’t make much of an effort.
Luckily I soon learned that social connectedness is up there with being one of the most important factors when it comes down to our wellbeing. But this wasn’t just a theoretical understanding, I felt it. I was lonely.
Loneliness wasn't healthy for me
I now believe you can be the healthiest person on the planet but if you're lonely, you are not healthy. This creates a feeling of dis-ease and imbalance. So I began to rethink things. There were people whom I cared deeply about and loved spending time with; so how about starting with just seeing those people?
Nowadays, my AS is in a completely different place and I have recovered my life, but when I was starting on my journey, it would have been helpful to give this exact advice to myself.
Being "selfish" can lead to greater ease
The thing is, it might feel selfish at first, but in fact it is the opposite. Because when you prioritize seeing people that really mean a lot to you, the love and attention you provide is a lot higher and you show up present and engaged.
So this isn’t a blog to say stop seeing friends and family, actually the opposite. Say no in order to say yes. It is still important to allow for spontaneity and if you're feeling it, then go for it.
Saying "no" in order to say "yes"
But if you are feeling overwhelmed socially, it’s okay to say no. Say no with the knowledge that every "no" leads to a more important "yes."
Connecting with others is a birthright; but, saying yes to everyone and always socializing when you don’t want to is not.
Can anyone relate? In the comments, share a time that you've said "no" in order to say "yes," or share how you've created stronger boundaries while navigating an ankylosing spondylitis or axial spondyloarthritis diagnosis.
Which period are you currently in?