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What I'd Like to Hear Instead of 'You're So Brave!'

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What I want to hear, as an autoimmune disease patient, is very simple.

I don’t want to hear “You’re so brave!” or “You’re my hero!” Although these things are great and positive, they feel demeaning to me when I am not feeling brave or strong. I love that people want to compliment me, I love that they make an attempt at showing they care, but I don’t want to hear that every time.

What I want to hear most is not that I am brave or strong, but that it’s OK not to be. I want someone to hug me and say, “It is OK to not be strong all the time, to not be brave 24/7. It’s OK to yell and scream and have a fit, just don’t stay in that frame of mind all the time. You aren’t being negative when you aren’t brave or strong all the time.”

I want to express my fears without being told, “Just stay positive.” I want to be told my fears are rational and that I can still be real without being negative. I want people to stop this conception that if you are fighting something deadly you are brave and strong all the time when all you are doing is living, you are doing what everyone else is doing. I want people to listen when I say I am being realistic instead immediately judging that I am being negative.

I want to be real without someone judging.

Originally published: August 3, 2016
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