Susan Ortolano, M.A., CMRC, PCC
Intuitive Life & Relationship Coach

Archive for February, 2010

What’s in it for You?

canstockphoto0193300-reflections  In the early stages of illness I was trying to figure out what happened to me, why, and how to heal it. It was a difficult process and initially I was so focused on trying to figure it out medically, that I was missing the real answers. I was asked the question “what are you getting out of being sick?”

I was appalled, insulted and infuriated that anyone would think there was something in this for me, as if I somehow asked to be sick. I mean seriously…does anyone really want to be sick??

I allowed myself to be resistant to that idea for a bit and looked at all of the losses I had experienced and all I had missed out on. With all of that, why would I ask to be sick? But as someone committed to getting to the inner core of the matter, I finally had to ask myself that uncomfortable question.

 What I came to was the following:

 How I have “benefited” by being sick and then the reality of what really happened-

 1) I got to be special rather than boring or ordinary. Even though being ill has not been fun, it did have me stand out.

 Yes, I may have stood out, but not because I did anything special. It was more of “Oh, poor you.” Who wants that???

 2) I was able to say “no” to things because I didn’t feel well rather than I just didn’t feel like going somewhere or doing things. Somehow a part of me thought that the “being too sick” reason warranted more compassion.

 Actually people have had a tendency to get mad and stop inviting me.

 3) If I failed at something, it was because I was ill rather than because I wasn’t good enough.

  That was a shock to discover but it makes sense to me that it was in there.

 4) I didn’t have to be as responsible for as many things.

 That may have been true but then it prevented me from having things I wanted that required higher levels of responsibility.

 5) People would be nicer to me.

 You would think that people would have had more compassion and be nicer to a sick girl, but that has not been my experience. Many people did not want to have anything to do with me; friends have fallen away; people didn’t always know what to do or didn’t feel they wanted to take time. And some people have treated me like I’m an incapable idiot. Good thing I was able to say “good riddance.”

 6) If I did something fabulous, it was more of an extraordinary accomplishment because I had been so ill doing it, you know, like in the movies…

Ok, I have to admit that people have acknowledged what I have accomplished, but there hasn’t been so much of a “wow, how did you do all of that and dealt with your health at the same time?” You know those movies where the main character has to overcome so many odds, finally does it and at the end of the film, we’re in tears? Yeah, that didn’t happen.


My real insights have been that I have to acknowledge myself; be kinder and more compassionate with myself; trust that I’m special enough; say “no” when I need to without a reason; embrace failure as an opportunity to move in a better direction; and accept the responsibility that comes with the things I want in life.

 I feel blessed and grateful to have learned these things and funny that as I have, my physical condition has improved.  Hmmmmm…..

 So ask yourself the question. I know it’s uncomfortable and even painful, but the freedom on the other side of the question is worth it!!