The 3 Secrets To Living A Love-Filled, Happy, Energized Life – Despite Illness

Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Guest Blogs

The 3 Secrets To Living A Love-Filled, Happy, Energized Life – Despite Illness

It was just 2 years I started writing publicly about my experience of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.  When diagnosed with multiple sclerosis I was lost, like so many are.  But I soon found that taking control over my own care and lifestyle was critical if I was to become a chronic wellness superhero.  You can read my thoughts about it at that time.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when I spoke to a crowd of 300+ people about my relationship with that diagnosis. I wanted to share with you some of the insights I have compiled over the last 2 years and which I shared with the audience at the Take Back Your Health Conference.

First, let me say that I know many of you reading this either don’t have a chronic condition or do, but don’t think about it.  For that I applaud you.  Truthfully, as each day goes by, I think of mine less.

Yet I was visiting a facebook group this weekend where the topic for discussion was anxiety over the uncertainty of living with multiple sclerosis. The concerns, anxiety and depression expressed were heart-felt.  Yet, I couldn’t relate.  I know it is easy to sink into depression, anxiety, and worry when bad things happen to us (no matter what the form).  I’ve been there. In my 30s I suffered severe depression and anxiety over all in life that I could not control. So you might think that I would do the same with MS – the ultimate uncontrollable situation.  But I don’t.

This doesn’t make me better than others, it just makes me happier. And I see it time and again with clients. The difference is stark. Some live “under” their diagnosis, while others live “above” it. I highly recommend the latter approach.  When living “above” your diagnosis, dis-ease, illness or circumstance, you live in a place of love, potential, joy, fulfillment, contentment and peace.  Who doesn’t want that?

But how do you live and love in that space?

Through my own experience, my studies and by working with clients, I have discovered some secrets to living a thriving, fulfilled, energized life in spite of the label a doctor has handed down. Today I want to share 3 of them.

1. Don’t own the diagnosis

I was lucky to have my naturopath correct me when I told her I had MS. She said “oh no, don’t ever say ‘you have it.’ Don’t own it. You’ve been diagnosed, but that is just a label.” I was perplexed at the time, but grateful for the paradigm shift.

Whether its MS, diabetes, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, high blood pressure or any other chronic condition, a fulfilling, happy life starts with not owning the diagnosis.  Whatever diagnosis a doctor has informed you about, acknowledge the diagnosis, but don’t become it.

Instead of saying I have [insert your condition], say I have been diagnosed with [insert your condition]. Or if you haven’t been diagnosed, say I experience fatigue, instead of saying I am fatigued.

I know this may sound like semantics. But words matter.

Your cells respond to every word you think and express. They are listening and taking direction from you.

When we tell ourselves and others that we are something, we become it at the cellular level.  As much as I discuss my MS diagnosis to help others, it is not me. I am so many other things and that is what I focus on.

You are so many other things than a disease, a symptom or a condition.

Consider this: I am the picture of perfect health. MS is a footnote in my life.  The book, however, is rich, funny, interesting and full of love. When we disown the dis-ease, we get to write our own book. The power is ours.

2. Take action

As Marianne Williamson writes in a Return to Love “for a person diagnosed with a physical ailment, the call to change is imperative.”

Even as we disown a condition, we must take action. I meet lots of folks who are “ignoring” their condition. They go on as if nothing is different when it is.  The result is unhappiness, something feeling out of place, guilt, frustration and on and on. All this when the person simply wants peace and happiness.

Taking action to make yourself feel better (over and above any diagnosis) is critical to living “above” your diagnosis.

A few years ago, a friend asked me why I was making all these changes in my life after the diagnosis? She asked because there is this “rule” that says you shouldn’t make any changes in your life for the 1st year after being diagnosed.

Well I don’t know who set down this rule but here is my response: if I were to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result, you would call me insane, right? (Thanks Mr. Einstein). So if the way I was living my life led me to the moment of the diagnosis, why would I continue to do the same thing?  No thanks.

That’s why I told me friend this: the worst case scenario is the changes I am making leads me to feel better, reach my ideal weight (40 pounds lighter), and have more focus, clarity and energy.  Best case scenario is I stop MS in its tracks. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.  It also sounds sane.

3. Walk the line of acknowledging but not dwelling

So far I’ve suggested that you don’t own the illness but you take action. Yes, this is a fine line, especially when you begin to walk the journey. But it’s not as hard as it sounds.  Acknowledge what the doctor has told you. Take action. But don’t dwell.

Dwelling on a diagnosis, symptoms or “your bad luck” places your “circumstance” front and center in your life. You become it. Remember whatever this thing is that is in your life now (the uninvited guest I call it), it is a foot note. So pick up the pen and write the book, just remember its a footnote.

You may be asking how at this point.  How do you live “above” and not “below” the condition?  The answer is beyond the scope of this one article. However, here are a few suggestions.

  • Acknowledge that you can’t control the disease (or life for that matter).
  • Discover how you can view the condition in a way that honors your mind and body.
  • Don’t turn your body into a war zone. Marianne writes “the last thing a sick person needs is something else to hate about themselves.”

Do you have any tips to share on living fully with a diagnosis? Please share them in the comments below.

With love and light,


P.S. There are many exercises and path to help you own yourself, disown the condition, take action and walk the line.  If you would like to explore this further, I invite you to explore these concepts in depth with me in a From Fatigued to Fabulous Breakthrough Session.

Written by Laurie Erdman

Laurie Erdman, The The Get More Energy Superhero, is founder of the From Fatigued to Fabulous System TM, the proven step-by-step method that teaches working women (and men) how to double their energy, get more done and still have time for themselves. To get your FREE 3 Superhero Tips For Doubling Your Energy In Less Than 30 Days by e-mail and receive her weekly health and energetic life mindset articles on getting more energy, overcoming and preventing chronic illness and dramatically increasing your happiness factor, visit


  1. Wow, I’m going to share this with my friend. I love her, but she ALWAYS dwells on the negative. She’s had various health illnesses/symptoms for several years and, to this day, still hasn’t been properly diagnosed. All that aside, when someone asks, “Hey, how are you…” this is NOT a time to unload your every ailment. However, sadly she does – to me!!
    We all have challenges in our lives, whatever they may be, but we (“I”) don’t go on a rant about every freakin’ issue, thought or instance of a family member letting you down again in some way. My best statement is my “Childbirth Mindset” , yeah… as I’m going through it, it hurts like HELL, but I know on the other side of that comfortableness, that pain, there in that place that I’m so trying to get to is JOY. The thing that keeps me is the thought of holding that new, little person in my arm who’s full of possibility.
    We all should try to adopt some kind of “Childbirth Mindset” of our own. Like friends, family, life, etc… there are uncomfortable moment…even entire episodes. Furthermore, there are also very beautiful hilltops, with exquisite vistas that we’ve yet to experience. I WANNA GET THERE!! Let that be your internal, demanding MANTRA. If I can just make it to that hilltop everything will be all right – it will ALL work out – GET MOVIN’!
    So, for now if I (or you) find yourself in a valley… let it be an alarm going off in your heart/mind that there’s a hilltop just a ways up to be experienced and it will be WONDERFUL.
    I wish this for my friend…I really, truly do. =/
    May the expectation of Joy drive YOU to SOLDIER ON! Moreover, smile… yes that’s right, SMILE (damn-it) it’s comin’!
    May Joy always find you. Y.I.C.
    Hollywood W.S.

    • Greetings, I have been having trouble with spammers of late. I’m orry to ask, but please let me know if this message is real.

  2. I want to say thank you, Laurie for sharing this… there are so many out there that don’t have joy because they haven’t been taught how to seek it. People need to be TAUGHT how to love themselves and one another. I fully understand that Hurt People HURT people, if only for a lack of knowledge.
    Maybe that’s what helps me to practice forgiving (you heard me right) I said practice. Because Lord knows, I’m not there yet (coy smile), but I carry my bag of trail mix because sometimes the “high-road” gets a little steep.
    Keep these going, it’s a worthwhile topic and we all benefit from the well-being of our fellowman.
    I wish you all your own sense of Joy.
    My two cents…Y.I.C.
    Hollywood W.S.

  3. I think this is a real great article post.Really thank you! Fantastic.

  4. This is one awesome blog article.Thanks Again.

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