How to Find Self-Worth Living with Chronic Illness

By Kirstie

As members of the chronic illness club, we often go through a vicious cycle of “why us?” But in reality, there is nothing you did to deserve it. It’s just how you were made, maybe an unfortunate series of events that led to it. Most of us realize this early on in diagnosis stages, and others take much longer to get to that point… And that is okay. For me, I accepted that the chronic illness part of my life will be there for the rest of my life. And that’s okay too.

I’m not a spiritual person, but there are some people who believe that a higher power will never put you through anything you can’t handle. And to an extent I do believe that. There are many things life will throw your way that you think you can’t do, but with perseverance, and the will to “keep on keepin’ on” you can get through anything.

You need to know when your body has had enough that particular day, learn to say “no!” It may make you feel defeated, or anger others for you to have to do this, but your body will greatly thank you later. And in the end all that matters is how you feel with your body.

There are some steps you can follow to try to regain a sense of ease about your illness, and why it chose you.

1. Your body is not the enemy.

We often get angry about our bodies ability to function. Your body is a great vessel. Even so, it’s also vulnerable to illnesses and injury. It deserves your compassion, not your anger.

2. It’s not your fault you have health issues.

Everyone struggles with their health at some point in life. Others have lifelong struggles. Don’t make things worse by adding blame to the mix.

3. Don’t spend energy worrying about how others view you.

Instead, spend that energy taking good care of yourself.

4. Forgive yourself.

When you realize you’re not taking care of yourself, forgive yourself immediately, and try again.

5. Expect to be let down by others.

Everyone feels let down by others at times. More likely than not, it has to do with what’s going on in their lives, not yours.

6. Teach yourself to ask for help.

Many of us were taught at a young age that asking for help is a sign of weakness. It’s not. Asking for help is a great sign about your self-worth. This is a step as a person, I’m still working on.

7. If you regained your health, life would still not be perfect.

In other words, don’t fall into that “if only” trap that has you thinking that your life would be trouble-free if only you were healthy.

8. When your body says “no,” so do you.

Saying “no” takes a lot practice. I know because I’m still practicing this. It’s an act of self-compassion that we all need to practice.

9. Don’t feel bad if you’re not a member of the outside workforce.

Taking care of yourself as a person with a chronic illness is tough work! In fact, for many people it is a full-time job.

10. It’s okay to feel fed-up sometimes.

I often say “I am sick of being sick.” A bad day is just that: one bad day. Tomorrow, you can start over. A bad day doesn’t mean a bad life.

I know that major changes in life can be hard, especially with chronic illness. But I’m positive that even if you only follow a few of these steps, your life as someone with a chronic illness will change for the better.


2 thoughts on “How to Find Self-Worth Living with Chronic Illness

  1. Mind and Love says:

    Love the list. It seems like a few of items relate to being kind and showing ourselves compassion. Discovering my inner brutal self-critic was an eye opening moment for me; that eventually led me to be more kind to myself. Great post. Thank you.

    Roger Petersen
    Mind and Love


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