• CF… a reason or an excuse?

    Posted by jenny-livingston on February 10, 2021 at 11:20 am

    “If I can do this, anyone can!”

    “You can do anything you put your mind to!”

    “Don’t let CF be an excuse!”

    Have you heard phrases like this? I see these discussions happening online and while I understand that these words are meant to be motivational, sometimes I just find them to be incredibly frustrating.

    I’ve seen and heard these things said regarding traveling, pursing hobbies, getting an education and more, but I encounter them most often in regard to fitness. Working out. Pushing our bodies.

    I understand that exercise is an incredibly important aspect of CF care and overall health. I’m generally pretty good at staying active and moving my body regularly. Even still, there are many things I cannot do. The implication that I (or others) might be using CF as an excuse bothers me a bit.

    There are so many things — diminished lung capacity, being bound to a hospital bed, joint pain, severe illness, nausea, migraines, etc. — that have prevented me from exercising at times. Others regularly experience even more debilitating symptoms. To me, those are legitimate reasons, not excuses.

    I will never run a marathon. I will never climb Mt. Everest. I will never be a heavy weightlifting champion. Perhaps I could if I dedicated my life to training, and maybe that’s what is meant when someone says, “You can do anything if you put your mind to it.” But I can’t help but think that these platitudes carry with them a measure of ableism and shame.

    Personally, I’d feel more motivated by and would much rather hear things like:

    “Push your body, if you’re able”

    “Go for it, if you feel up to it.”

    “Listen to your body and do what you can today.”


    What do you think? Have there been things you legitimately cannot do because of CF? Do you feel like CF is a reason or an excuse to not do certain things? Have you ever felt shamed or discouraged by attitudes and phrases like this?

    rusty replied 3 years, 2 months ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • paul-met-debbie

    February 11, 2021 at 8:40 am

    You are right of course. It can be frustrating, even patronizing, infantilizing. But only if you choose so. Being right is not ultimately important in life. Beyond right, there is truth. And it goes beyond all stories, even the right ones.

    These are all perfect examples of how the mind works and talks with concepts, that are abstract and have no value in reality. And when the mind puts a question like this, asking us to choose between two concepts, the answer is mostly: neither. So, cf is neither an excuse nor a reason to do or not do anything.

    People don’t innately act from reasons or excuses. We act from our inner Self and then the mind adds itself to it, claims that he did it out of free will and makes up concepts like reasons. They are never true. The mind is like the little (wo)man on the elephant who, when the elephant crosses a wooden bridge, says: “Wow, I am making a lot of noise here”. This little person has made up his own existence, it is not really there and the elephant (your inner Self and innate wisdom, intuition, who naturally swims along the stream of life) needs no guidance at all. It will not even claim the noise as his “doing”, because he knows this is just what happens naturally when crossing a wooden bridge. It just enjoys the sound and the walking.

    Of course it can be nice to encourage people, or to be encouraged, but not in the form of some mind made platitude that often even holds a judgement.

    And on the other side of the conversation, there is the “cf patient” that needs to understand fully that he/she is completely autonomous and does not need or depend on any outer assessment and certainly not a judgement from anyone. If he is completely free and himself, those assessments will not get to him at all. He will not feel the urge to defend himself, not with a reason nor with an excuse. He will just keep silent and go on being himself. That will also teach those around him to stay in reality and not interfere with other peoples autonomy. They will back off in the end and learn to treat you with respect and equality. But if you keep engaging in finding reasons or excuses to defend or explain your behavior, this will encourage others to keep on pushing you around. They might mean well, or not, that’s not relevant. Just don’t engage in their behavior.
    You know what you do and can, that’s enough. Don’t look for things you want to hear or get frustrated if they don’t occur. Find your own encouragement. It will empower you and will cultivate your inner strength and independence, and ultimately it will set you completely free and happy. And of course you will still be able and wanting to listen to good advice and keep a clear eye to what you find yourself doing, and accept and learn from the consequences and everything that happens. That is completely different.

    With or without cf, there will always be things in life you can’t do because of circumstances. Or don’t want to do. This is absolutely not important. Life will play it’s game and things will happen. Enjoy them and accept them. Looking for reasons or excuses is a waste of time and irrelevant. Better to just follow your heart and intuition and learn others that you are just doing it your way. If they ask for reasons just say: “I don’t know”. That is the truth. You really don’t. It just happened and it came from the elephant inside. It’s your innate autonomy and you need no story to explain, not to others and not even to yourself. You were born by your Self and you will die by your Self. Don’t enslave your Self in between.

  • rusty

    February 11, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    I read one person’s thought about reason vs. excuse. He said a reason is factual and an excuse is just a rationalization. If you are in a body cast you have a reason why you cannot work out. If you just don’t want to work out you might talk yourself into some kind of excuse to use. The thing about this is it is up to you to determine which one is true. I have sometimes come to the conclusion that my “reason” was only really an excuse and then proceeded to work out at whatever intensity that felt comfortable. Of course, I have also decided that my excuse was bogus and conceded that I just wanted a day off and ditched a workout and that was OK. (Honesty was it’s own reward). I just don’t make that standard practice.

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