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People who live with chronic joint pain can tell you—it’s not always easy to stay positive. While we do have things that we remain grateful for, sometimes, the challenges of our illness can eclipse our sense of gratitude.

Today, more than any time of the year, we wanted to put the spotlight on all the things that we are thankful for. Because while we have no choice but to deal with our pain staying positive and showing gratitude is a conscious option that we can make everyday. It can be hard at times, but if this community has proven anything, it’s that our strength and resilience is so much bigger than our burdens and challenges.

If you need to be reminded of that fact this Thanksgiving, here’s a reminder of the things that continue to be sources of positivity and goodness in our lives—

The support of our family…

If you’re lucky enough to be part of a family that’s loving, supportive, and understanding of what you’re going through, be grateful for the role that they play in your life. The sad fact is that not everyone has that; and if you’re fortunate enough to have them close to you during this holiday, let them know that you appreciate them.

The encouragement of your friends…

It’s true, not everyone in your life understands what it’s really like to live with arthritis. In fact, unless your friends go through the same challenges themselves, it’s unlikely they understand the gravity of what you go through daily. But they try. They let you know that they’re there to lend a hand and or a shoulder to cry on—all you have to do is ask. Because of how isolating arthritis can be, it’s not uncommon for people to lose friends because of arthritis. So if you find yourself surrounded by friends, new and old, make an effort to show your appreciation.

The unconditional loyalty of your pet…

Your pet’s loyalty and devotion is priceless. Sometimes, at the end of the most difficult day, on your worst flare up, your beloved pet nuzzling up to your is all you need to remind yourself that better days are ahead.

The inspiration and insight that arthritis communities offer…

We’re so lucky to be dealing with this condition during a time where it’s easy to find others who know exactly what we’re going through. As much as we appreciate the support of well-meaning friends and family, sometimes, the words of a stranger from across the world, online, telling us that he or she is going through the exact same thing we are, makes us feel less alone as we deal with our illness. Technology allows us to be part of communities that face the same challenges and decisions, gives us a chance to forge new friendships, and lets us find strength and inspiration and when we need it most.

The patience of our caregivers…

Arthritis is a degenerative disease that prompts us to rely on a lot of people. There are days when we resent this—when we feel like our independence was snatched away from us too soon. But somehow, our primary caregivers are always there by our side, helping us get past our limitations, addressing our needs, working through our negativity on bad days, and celebrating our good ones.

The advancements of today’s science…

It can sometimes feel progress for a cure or at least a better way to manage our illness is at a standstill. But treatments for arthritis are improving—from medication to tools and aids, possible surgical interventions to physical therapy. Advancements in this field of study are allowing more people who suffer from various forms of arthritis to continue living life as normally as possible. It’s going to continue to progress—and we can continue to hope that we will find an actual cure for it one day.

The strength that you didn’t even know you had in you…

Finally, and we especially wanted to end with this one—be grateful for the fact that you continue to show strength, resilience, hope, and positivity, in spite of everything that you go through with this illness. It’s not easy.

It would be so easy to just give in to the pain, shut everyone out, and and succumb to the seeming hopelessness of our situation. But arthritis helps us realize that we need to be strong–for ourselves and our loved ones. A lot of people go through their lives oblivious to this fact simply because they tend to take their health for granted. But we know better. Dealing with our illness continues to teach us so much, including our ability to find strength in places where we least expect it.

On that note, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in this community! And as always, if you have anything to add to this list we’d love to hear all about it so leave us a comment below.

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