a woman letting go of a person and then saying hi to new friends

I Learned to Let Go of My Expectations in Others

For a very long time, I brooded and sulked over the idea that many people around me either didn’t care about my deteriorating health or didn’t care to try and understand it. I couldn’t understand myself why these people were so close-minded and lacked empathy.

I used to yearn for understanding

Many of us who struggle with chronic illness have been exposed to misunderstanding from others. They will jump to their own conclusions or form their own opinions without having even tried to start a conversation or listen to better understand what we go through. This used to bother me greatly. At the end of it all, all I ever wanted was to feel heard. But instead, all I ever got from people was cruel opinions and judgements about me behind my back.

It's normal to feel bothered by this

I think it’s something that we all must go through eventually. In a big world filled with billions of other human beings, it’s only a matter of time before we run into someone who is close-minded and bigoted. It doesn’t mean it’s fair or right, and it most definitely should not be normalized. But regardless of this, the world is large, and some people out there are hell-bent on misunderstanding disabled people. We have every right to feel frustrated or even angered when we encounter people like this because we know just how challenging it is mentally, physically and financially to live this way. We know we deserved to be heard, to be understood, and to be supported.

Eventually, the right people find you

It took me a few years, but eventually you come to see the light and learn to just let go of that expectation to feel understood. In a perfect world, everyone would take the time to understand what it’s like to live as a disabled individual and the hardships that come alongside it. But for the sake of our peace of mind, it’s better to close any expectations of how others view our very real and complex experiences with disability, because the truth is, the people who matter will choose to understand it to the best of their ability. They will try and educate themselves and support you the best way that they can. And the people who don’t? They don’t matter. They’re not worth the mental space or stress in your life.

I let the right people in, and kicked the wrong out

When I finally reached that place of letting go of expectations, the state of my mental health improved drastically. I took a good look around me and saw the people whose opinions mattered most and pushed the thoughts of those who didn’t matter into a ditch. It’s a gradual process. I had only realized how much my life improved the other day—how much had changed for me in the last year. This time last year I was consumed by the opinions of others. And now I don’t spend a single moment wondering what people think.

I know my truth. I know who I am. And I am standing so strong in that truth that nobody can barge in and bring me down.

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