5 Encouraging Quotations for Times When You're Struggling With Illness

To say that living with chronic pain and illness changed the trajectory of my life would be an understatement. So it means a great deal to have found this community of people who understand the complexities that accompany such a statement.

Perhaps like me, on most days, as you ride the waves of this complicated life, you rely on constructive self-talk to be both therapist and cheerleader. Listening to that inner validation is often enough to keep me
going. And I’m grateful for this helpful tool.


But then there are the other days – the ones in which familiar waves take on a tsunami-like strength.

On those days, I feel as if I’m walking on tenterhooks waiting for the other shoe to drop – a new symptom, test results, a new magic cure that seems to be making things worse. I become disheartened by all I’ve lost, by the loneliness that threatens to swallow me up in its watery darkness.

On those days when even the most supportive self-talk is not enough, I turn to what I’ve named “My Beautiful Words Project.”

A number of years ago, while recovering from breast cancer (now cancer free!), I began collecting poems and quotations by a diverse group of wise and insightful thinkers – authors, poets, philosophers and even a comedian or two (for where would we be without humor?). I keep the selections in a three-ring binder for easy access. I simply turn to a random page and let my eyes settle on a statement that resonates. After reading the quotation, I reflect on it and write a sentence or two about what it means to me.

This act of shifting my attention, absorbing the significance of what I’ve read and adopting a new perspective brings me to a more life-affirming and peaceful place. It calms my body and eases my weary mind.

And so in the spirit of sharing, here are just a few quotations that bring me comfort, encouragement and support when self-talk is not enough. I hope you find them useful.

If there are quotations or poems that are meaningful to you, perhaps you’ll consider sharing them in the comments section. I’d love to “hear”

1. “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being.” – Hafiz

2. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” – Mary Anne Radmacher

3. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene

4. “We must let go of the life we had planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell

5. “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

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Thinkstock photo via littleny.

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