The Mighty Logo

It's OK to Forgive Yourselves, My Fellow Chronic Illness Friends

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Forgive yourself.

Forgive the things you could not get to today, because the pain was too intense.

Give yourself the grace you’d give a loved one who was struggling to move, exhaustion winning against the will to do more.

Forgive the mess. Forgive the cancelled plans. You are only human. With a body that needs care right now. You can only do so much. Those who love you will understand. If they don’t, forgive them, for they still need to grow.

Be unhappy at your limits but don’t be angry at yourself. That is unfair to your soul. To the glowing essence of who you are. Love yourself enough to be OK with what you cannot do today.


I understand. I know these feelings well. I know the crushing disappointment of staying home when you had plans. I know the shame of having a messy house and feeling like it shouldn’t get this bad. I know the sense of loss. I know the pain that squeezes you from the inside out. That takes your breath away. That takes everything away in those moments of agony. Where all you know is the pain. I know the fear. The mind-numbing fear, when the body is completely out of control and running off a racetrack at 100 mph.

I also know the strength it takes to still be fighting. To still be living. To still be here today. Sharing love with those around you. Supporting each other with words of understanding and encouragement.

Remember to support yourself in the same way.

I know despite all of the hurt we have, we made it to today, with hearts larger than they were yesterday and empathy stronger than it’s ever been.

We can share our hearts with loved ones and gift smiles that flash through the darkness.

Hope can carry us and others through a bad night, and the quiet peacefulness that comes with the rosy glow of each sunrise can carry us through the day. The gentle yet fierce light that keeps us going even when we thought we were too tired to fight.

We’ve done something pretty amazing today, even if we didn’t do very much. We continued on.

Acknowledge this. Breathe it in. Be proud, not ashamed.

Chronic illness and pain may make our bodies weak, but our minds are beautiful and powerful and can make a difference to this world. Why? Because we have lived a life of complexity. We know the simple joys of being able to do simple things. You don’t get through life with chronic illness without growing, learning, appreciating and changing.

To all who are struggling, be gentle with your body and kind to your soul.

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

Thinkstock photo via OGri.

Originally published: June 13, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home