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.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock Image By: Hemera Technologies

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Illness

doctor writing on clipboard

What I Want Aspiring Doctors to Know as a Chronically Ill Patient

Dear aspiring doctor, Congratulations to you on having the brains and drive to set your sights on medical school. I’ve run into a few people like you, in dorms, classrooms and in hospitals. For some of you I am happy to know you will be in the medical field. Others, not so much. if(typeof(jQuery)=="function"){(function($){$.fn.fitVids=function(){}})(jQuery)}; jwplayer('jwplayer_HiB5ZITR_F962XJnx_div').setup( [...]
grocery cart at store with text 6 ways to make food shopping easier on low energy days

6 Ways to Make Food Shopping Easier If You Have a Chronic Illness

When it comes to running errands, grocery shopping is one of the most physically taxing tasks there is. From getting to the store, making your way up and down every aisle reaching for boxes, finding food that fits your dietary needs and putting everything away when you get home, food shopping can feel like running [...]
30 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're a Chronic Warrior

30 Things People Don't Realize You're Doing Because You're a Chronic Warrior

If you fight the daily battle of chronic illness, you’ve probably picked up some habits, behaviors or coping techniques that help you manage your condition and navigate everyday life. But these battles aren’t always “visible” to those around you. It can be difficult to know exactly what it means to be a “chronic warrior” if you’ve [...]
A young couple, laying on the floor, with paper hearts around them.

3 Hacks for Dating With a Chronic Illness

One of the topics that I see constantly posted and discussed on Facebook support pages has to do with dating after being diagnosed with a chronic illness. Keep in mind that the dating world is getting even more complicated and down-right scary the more time goes by. This only makes things even more difficult and [...]