Question: I wake up every day wishing there was a cure for HIV. Will this ever go away?
Hi! You ask a really great question.
Let me begin by saying that if you are wishing every day that a cure for HIV will emerge, you are in good company. It’s one that I hear often from my clients. Each and every person who has been touched by HIV in any way is wishing that someday soon HIV will be curable. Each and every day.
I can hear the pain behind your question, along with some frustration. An HIV diagnosis brings new responsibilities and challenges to your life. In that way, it’s like an uninvited houseguest that’s moved in and wants lots of attention. You’re taking over my bedroom and you expect breakfast every morning? Really? HIV demands your attention every day. So it’s not surprising that you would wake up every day wishing it would just move on.
I get the feeling you think you shouldn’t be waking up with that wish. Maybe because you’re concerned about wishing and not facing reality. Or maybe because having that wish makes you feel more sad and frustrated.
In other words, it sounds as if you think wishing for a cure is not such a good thing. So here’s my question: What if looked at your morning wish from another perspective?
What I am saying here is that there are two ways to view the wish you wake up with every day. When we wish for something, we are coming from a place of not having. I don’t have this, wish I had that. Or, I don’t want this, I wish that I had that instead. The flip side of wishing is focusing on what’s missing in your life. Wishing can leave you feeling stuck in what you don’t have in your life.
But here’s an alternative way to view your morning wish. Let’s rephrase it a little bit by replacing the word “wish” with a new word: “Hope.”
How about if you made the conscious decision to wake up every morning with an attitude of hope? And the next question. How do you get your hopefulness on track every morning?
Start with an attitude of gratitude. As part of your morning ritual, first identify something in your life that you’re grateful for. Something as simple as a sunny day, a great cup of coffee, your job, a few minutes on the phone with a friend. Attitude of gratitude.
Follow this with reviewing what makes you feel hopeful. Hope for a cure, sure. We’ve come a long way in treating HIV and we’re all hopeful about the future.
But also feel hopeful because of the foundation you’ve created for yourself: Your commitment to taking the best possible care of yourself. Your inner resilience that has helped you to accept your HIV status and move forward in life. Your health care team that is watching over you and helping you to maintain your health. And your support network of caring people who always have your back. Take a look at your foundation, what you need to do to keep it rock solid. That’s how you’ll cope with whatever the future does, or doesn’t bring.
And that’s a lot to feel hopeful about.
You might want to take a moment when you first wake up to jot down what you’re grateful for on a piece of paper, and stick it in your pocket. Or record it on your smart phone. This will help you to stay focused on what’s working in your life. Review it as needed throughout your day.
Take good care of yourself. Stay hopeful. About the future. About your ability to handle the curveballs that might get lobbed in your direction. About the people in your life who are there to support you. Every morning. Every day.