Chronic Illness Can Help a Person Become Less Judgmental of Others

I have learned over the last few years to really look deeper into why some people are doing the things they do.

The quote “Most of the time people will look at what you do when in fact, they should be looking at why you did it” has stuck with me since I first heard it about four years ago. I absolutely love it!

Without going into specifics, there have been things in my life that I react to and think about differently now than I would have a couple of years ago. Obviously, we all evolve and our experiences help us understand things better, but I have noticed a fundamental change in me. A change that I believe is for the better.

I will never be someone who says they are glad they experienced suffering because it made them a stronger person, yada yada yada. I always felt like I would have been a fine person had ulcerative colitis never plagued my family and my life. I certainly understand the rational behind feeling that way and I can certainly put some positive spins now that a lot of my life does center around Inflammatory Bowel Disease (for example, being able to help others) but I never liked any saying that showed I was happy in some way that I have and still suffer.

I actually posted this on Instagram a few days ago since it pretty much sums up how I feel. Oh, and it made me laugh too which is always a plus. :)

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I grew up in a house where cigarettes were made out to be the worst thing you could ever do. I didn’t have any close friends who smoked on a regular basis growing up, mostly just on weekends if we were going to the bar or something, but they all knew to stay very far away from me if they were going to light up. Sure, it was ingrained in me that smoking was terrible from a very young age, but I also formed my own opinions very quickly. I also couldn’t understand how in this day and age people would start smoking, knowing all of the potential consequences. My grandmother on my dad’s side has smoked for over 60 years and while that certainly is not a good thing, people did not know any better back then.

But now, we do, and to be honest as hard as I tried not to, I did feel some judgment towards someone who I knew was a cigarette smoker. I, of course, understood that it was addictive and incredibly tough for most people to stop. Plus, I heard it can cause weight gain, bad withdrawal symptoms and just a lot of other issues until your body is nicotine-free for a little bit. {Note: I am not an expert on this so if something I said is inaccurate, I do apologize and please email me so I can correct it.}

I do, however, have more tolerance for those people who smoke now. While I still cannot be anywhere near someone who does that, and would never be able to date a smoker, I no longer judge a person who partakes in that particular habit.

I have never tried cigarettes before. My mom and I went to look into me trying a nicotine patch in an effort to possibly manage my ulcerative colitis but when my diagnosis changed to indeterminant colitis (meaning, possibly Crohn’s Disease,) that option went out the window.

Just for informative purposes: there have been some studies that show nicotine to be helpful for those with ulcerative colitis. However, when ingested by someone with Crohn’s Disease, the opposite occurs.

Anyway, I have been thinking about this a good amount since I am living in a place where cigarettes are more “popular,” I guess you could say. It is in my face a little more – not directly, but on the street, outside of stores, etc. It seems to be more socially acceptable.

While I still have a huge distaste for it and would never think about trying it, I would venture to guess that people who smoke do it for a reason. It is an expensive habit, the social stigma seems to be getting worse understandably, and there is so much literature about the negative impact it has on your health. Which is why… I firmly believe there is a real reason why a person smokes or ingests nicotine in their system.

I don’t understand it. I do hear it can have a calming effect but that is all I know about that substance. Whatever the reason, I know there is one. And I am not here to judge. I can choose to be around it or avoid it. I can choose to have friendships or relationships with people who smoke, or I can decide that based on the specific scenario.

But the bottom line as I see it is: we all have something that helps us get through the day, or life. We all have something. And given we don’t live in anyone else’s shoes but our own, we cannot begin to fathom what another person deals with day in and day out. Or, why they may need certain things to cope.