When I Realized I Was Putting Myself Down By Minimizing My Illness


You should never speak badly about yourself.

It’s easy to say, but not always easy to do.

I am a 68 year old woman with chronic illness. I was brought up to help others and to care for them. I tend to try to fix things for others and to put others’ needs first.

I am sure that lots of women in our society, particularly those who are mothers, behave in similar ways.

I sometimes find myself minimizing my illness because it makes those around me uncomfortable. I believe this is actually a form of speaking badly about myself, as it is denying the struggle I have each day.

I sometimes talk as if it is my fault that I am ill. I talk as if it is my problem and my responsibility if I cannot follow through on a commitment such as an outing. This isn’t fair to me. It’s judging myself by standards that I actually don’t apply to anyone else!

When every day is an adventure into the unknown of “chronic illness,” it is hard to keep thinking and speaking in a way that is helpful. Running yourself down in your head is bad enough, but doing it out aloud and putting yourself down is even worse.

I say, “I am fat, and I hate it.” Yes, I am obese thanks to medications… so why must I actually say this? It’s just beating myself up. It also gives others permission to describe me in similar terms. I don’t have to actually talk about myself in this way, my obesity is a side effect of my illness.

I said to my doctor, “I am living like a blob, I can’t do anything much.” Why label myself with a derogatory term, “blob?” There is a lot of judgement and devaluing myself in that comment! Physically, I do have limitations. I do not have much choice, so why use such dreadful words? I wouldn’t dare describe someone else in this way!

“Never say anything about yourself that you don’t want to come true.” – Brian Tracy

Now that is a wise statement.

Our thoughts lead to words and also drive our emotions and actions. Such negative and damning words about myself can actually be quite damaging.

Some of you on The Mighty, say we are “warriors.” Initially, I thought that was a bit over the top. But a warrior is someone who embraces courage, compassion and discipline. Anyone dealing with chronic illness must have discipline with respect to managing each and every day. Compassion is needed for how you perceive yourself and how you treat yourself… so speak kindly about yourself, and, courage is needed to keep going.

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