Thank You to the Don'ts

This piece is written for those of us with Multiple Sclerosis or other chronic illnesses that prevent us from being independent, unhindered in our choice to be a service to others in any way we desire…

Thank you to the “Don'ts”

Everyone is well acquainted with the “Do’s,” for they stand out - especially to the “Can'ts”. The “Wisher’s” and the “Wanter’s” bear honorable mention as they are related to the “Do’s” and “Can't s”, respectively.

The Do’s adhere to the ‘don't talk about it, be about it’ theory and are there to help get the job done or simply do it. They're all about making one's life a bit less stressful, doing whatever they can when they can to (willingly) assist - even at times when it may not be easy - because a "Can't" or a “Wanter” needs the help. Can’ts are those that cannot do the things they used to do and Wanter's are those that want to so badly, but realize that unfortunately, they cannot. The Do’s simply do what they do - they have an endearing affinity for the Can'ts and Wanter's and are there not for appearances, kudos, obligation, or anything of the like. The “Wisher's” are similar to the Do’s in that they ‘do' whatever they can, but, like the Wanter's, though they'd really like to help with everything, they just cannot and always ‘wish' they could do more - they are held in the same high regard as the ‘Do's” and all of them deserve the highest level of respect, appreciation and thanks.

With that said, there is actually a level of thanks and appreciation for the “Don'ts”. The Don’ts are those that recognize a Can't or Wanter, but make a conscious decision to ‘steer clear’ in order to either altogether negate or keep their assistance to a minimum. Their avoidance techniques commonly entail ignoring a need, acting as if it's not seen or present at all, or just being so absorbed in themselves, they choose to look past it. A sort of ‘honorable’ mention goes to those Don'ts who may ‘do' a thing or two, but normally not for all the right reasons and really none of the things that can make a difference. Just those ‘surface' type of things. The reason the “Don'ts” deserve any thanks is because they have actually served a service.

I became even stronger for myself

Personally speaking, it's the unexpected “Don’ts” that are the most surprising and unpleasant. They showed me that I had a strength which allowed me to look past the hurt they invoke. I could still smile and coexist with them cognizant, but not grudgingly. The ‘thanks' is because though I or my family may have needed their gifts and talents, time, empathy, etc., the lack thereof pushed me to different places, things and people. Additionally, I became even stronger for myself and my family. And finally, I thank them for showing me what NOT to do and to give of myself with my whole heart when and if able.

To the Can’ts and Wishers

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference
(Excerpt from Serenity Prayer)

To the Do’s and Wishers:
Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don't give up. (Galatians 6:9)

To the Don't s:
Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it's in your power to help them. (Proverbs 3:27)

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