This editors letter really touched my heart. I hope it touches yours as well. "We talk to dozens of fibromyalgia (FM) patients every day and recently a disturbing number of you have commented that since fibromyalgia you do not feel like the same person any more...that you have somehow lost your value as a person because you can no longer do the things you used to do. It breaks my heart to hear that - to see how society judges people's worth by how well they perform physically. I have always believed that, as human beings, we are made up of three parts: body, soul and spirit. Our body is the outer shell that houses who we are. It is governed by our five senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, Our soul is our core - our personality. It consists of our mind, emotions and will. Our spirit is the source of our strength and manifests itself as conscience, wisdom, insight, sensitivity and creativity. It is that part of us that is able to connect with our creator. Fibromyalgia touches only the outer shell - your body. Do you think less of the person who has lost their sense of sight or hearing? No. In fact, you probably admire them more for how well they have learned to cope with their disability. While FM does not take away any of your senses, it does oversensitize them...especially the sense of touch. That oversensitization can cause much pain and wreak havoc on your body, but it cannot take away from who you are unless you allow it to. The fact is that who you truly are is deepened and enhanced when your external body is no longer dominating the picture. A seed is simply a shell that houses the life force of a flower. Just as a flower only blooms when the seed has been buried and the shell breaks, once your physical body "breaks", your true beauty begins to bloom. Unfortunately much of the world is preoccupied, even obsessed, with what they can see - the tangibles - like external beauty, physical prowess, wealth and power. Those are the things that are glorified in the media. It is easy to get caught up in those values and to judge yourself according to those standards. But those tangible attributes are fragile and temporary at best. It is the qualities that cannot be seen on the surface - the intangibles - like love, patience, loyalty, courage, humor and understanding that reveal your true character and last forever. Instead of seeing FM as an enemy trying to destroy you, look at it as a gift - giving you the opportunity to grow and blossom in ways you never dreamed possible. Your life will be different than you once envisioned it. You may no longer be able to ski, but you still have the qualities that made you a good skier - courage, an adventurous spirit and a love of nature. You may not be able to achieve the top sales in your company any more, but you still possess the qualities that made you a top salesperson - drive, determination and persuasiveness. It is not a matter of giving up who you are, but rather a matter of finding new ways to express who you are. Before FM I was a dancer, using my creativity to express myself through the beauty of movement. Now I am a writer, using the same creativity to express my thoughts and insights through the beauty of words. So, you see, you are still the same person with the same qualities you had before FM. You just have to redirect the application of those qualities. Who you are does not change. It is what you do with who you are that makes the difference. May your spirit bloom. Karen Lee Richards Executive Editor FMawareness Magazine"