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When I Fear People Will Stop Loving Me as My Chronic Illness Progresses

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My progressive illness is like a thief that comes, day after day, to wrestle my illusions away from me. In an epic tug of war, I struggle to hold on to the idea that my accomplishments and the things I do for other people determine my lovability. I spend my precious energy fighting to uphold the standards that I have set for myself — my physical attractiveness, the ability to take care of and provide for myself, control over my bodily functions, and a hundred other accomplishments that used to be within my reach.

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Little by little, I lose the fight to live up to the bar I have set for myself. As I catch a glimpse of my next loss, I brace myself and try desperately to stop it from happening. I hope that the next doctor I see or the next treatment that I try will stop the progression and give me a little more time to live up to the blueprint of lovability that I carry in my mind. And with each new loss, I wonder, defeated and grieving, “Will the people who matter to me still love me? Have I given them enough in the past to keep them by my side now?”

We fight against the idea that our spirit and the light in our hearts are the super glue that keeps people close to us. We cling to the idea that we must earn love. But the people who really love us hold space for the unchanging truth of our lovability. They feel our value when we cannot believe in its existence. We are not here to earn love. We are here to let love in.

This story originally appeared on Mystical Authenticity.

Getty image by Stanislaw Pytel.

Originally published: January 25, 2022
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