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5 Things Others Can Learn From Those With Chronic Illness

Oftentimes, we may be so focused on the difficulties and obstacles of living with a chronic illness that we forget the benefits others have to gain. We can offer insight into different values, beliefs and ways of living as we’ve had to adjust and adapt to ever-changing conditions that are out of our control.

1. Self-Awareness

We are able to teach others what being self-aware is and what it entails.

Because we have to be cognizant and aware of our body and environment, we can help others develop a deeper sense of self by being self-aware of their behaviors, feelings and actions and how they might affect someone. 


By being self-aware, we become more open to taking responsibility and accountability for our mishaps. Self-awareness provides the openness and willingness to grow as a person.

2. Acceptance

People diagnosed with chronic illness aren’t given the choice of having it or not having it. The condition is chronic and here to stay.

We’re basically forced to either accept it or let it make us miserable day in and day out. People may ask themselves, “How does she make it to work or school on a daily basis even while feeling so lousy?”


Many of us have accepted that our condition is chronic and it can either define us or we can take control of things we still have control over.

3. Strength

Despite living with an unpredictable chronic illness, many of us pull our strength together and do what we have to do to live the most functional and “normal” life possible.

Seeing the fight and strength of those with chronic illness can teach others what strength looks like in action.

Actions speak louder than words, and to see the strength it takes to do things at times may astound you and leave you speechless. It’s truly amazing and beautiful.

4. Gratitude

Many of us take for granted the ability to perform daily activities such as brushing our teeth or getting dressed. Being grateful for those functional abilities is far too often overlooked.

People can learn gratitude from those with chronic illness by paying close attention to how one with a chronic condition maneuvers throughout the day on good and bad days. By “maneuvers throughout the day,” I mean doing daily and functional tasks that are usually automatic to those without chronic illness.

They can teach you gratitude by helping people see and become aware of the fact that at any given moment, you may lose the ability to perform daily activities that were once an unconscious process.

5. Patience

Patience with good and bad days. People with chronic conditions normally show an immense amount of patience with doctors, family and friends.

Patience is also learned through witnessing their bad days when they are limited and unable to do things they were able to do just yesterday.

Having a chronic illness shouldn’t be a death sentence, nor should it be portrayed in that manner. Dating someone with a chronic illness isn’t the end of everything you are familiar with.

How open you are to learning and growing as a person may be one of the most important factors in dating someone with a chronic condition. It will likely also be a determinant on whether or not the relationship is successful.

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