to the person with chronic illness that feels like they can never measure up

To the person with chronic illness that feels like they can never measure up

I know it feels like no one thinks about you, the quiet person in the corner who just looks a little tired. No one notices how hard you try or how much effort you put into pretending you’re okay. Sometimes it feels like they only notice you when you make a mistake, or when your vulnerability shows. They might notice when you just can’t keep up anymore, or when you seem to be constantly letting them down. Then they treat you like you’re a failure, but I know better. I know that you are doing the best you can. Every day you get up and do all that your body will let you do, and that is enough.

It’s hard to value yourself when you constantly feel like you don’t measure up. That’s why when you feel discouraged or you feel like you can’t ever do anything right, you need to celebrate the small victories. Remember that the little things are important and worth paying attention to.  Here’s some basic steps to remember:

1. No one else may recognize your victories, but you deserve to reward yourself. Take a moment to remind yourself how awesome you are. Enjoy your happiness, you deserve it.

2. Remember that even a small win can show you the progress you have made and will provide you with encouragement to keep fighting.

3. If you are feeling discouraged make a list of all the things you did that day that were hard for you to accomplish. You will notice that you are accomplishing more than you think.

4. Focus on what you have done right, not what you have done wrong. Every day is a new battle when you have a chronic illness, so don’t get down on yourself if things don’t go the way you planned.

When you feel discouraged, don’t ever forget that you are brave. That doesn’t mean that you are fearless, it means that every day you wake up and fight pain that would send a healthy person running to emergency room. It means that you continually fight for better medical treatment. It means that you manage to find joy and light despite your suffering. It means that you care about other people’s pain, despite the fact that you can barely deal with your own. It means that your illness has made you a more loving and compassionate person. It means you face down your fears every single day. It means that even though your dreams have changed, you still dream. It means that your illness may have broken you, but you put the pieces back together and made yourself better. It means that you are amazing.

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