Why Illness Is Not A Flaw
When I look down at my arm and see scars, scabs, lumps, swelling and a big ol’ crooked middle finger it is easy to judge it. Sometimes I feel like I’m damaged goods, and would give anything for my left arm to be “normal” like my right one. But when I think deeper, past the superficial scars of my condition, I can see that illness is not a flaw – it can actually be a massive blessing.
I had a friend over the other day who is also dealing with ongoing physical healing work, and she got a bit upset about the fact that her illness makes her feel flawed. Seeing her sadness resonated with me so much, and it inspired me to list all of the ways that having dis-ease in the body can actually be a good thing.
Let’s count them:
1. Illness is a crystal clear message from your body. It is not your body’s way of punishing you! It’s simply trying to tell you something. If you’ve recognised an illness, this means that you are able to hear its message.
2. It gives us a great excuse to indulge in down time and put ourselves first. We shouldn’t need an excuse to do this, but I will admit that pre-cancer I never would have been able to justify slowing down or taking the day off work just because my body felt like it. Even with a whopping hangover I would drag myself into the office. These days, if my body needs down time, then that is exactly what I give it. No need for justification. No guilt. No regrets.
3. Illness is a reminder to always put your wellbeing ahead of anything else. If you’re not sick, it is so easy to get caught up in superficial achievements, goal-hitting, and daily drama. Whenever I look at the scars on my arm, I am reminded to check in with how my body is feeling and adjust my to-do list accordingly.
4. It allows you to see the bigger picture. Small, petty drama just doesn’t matter the way it used to, and that is incredibly liberating.
5. Deep wisdom is born from adversity like illness. I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a ditz at times, but ever since taking the fate of my future into my own hands, I’ve developed a deep sense of wisdom and universal understanding that I never would have otherwise.
6. Recovering from illness takes self-acceptance to the next level. You can’t truly heal until you’ve learnt to love yourself, and treat yourself with love and respect every day. Those days of looking in the mirror and focusing on my flaws are well and truly behind me.
7. Having your life threatened (or even debilitated) is the best motivation to live your best life. It’s easy to take life for granted when you’re well, but when you’ve faced an illness, you’re given a big kick up the bottom to stop being lazy and complacent and start living a life that you will be beyond happy with when it comes time to leave this world.
I could go on, but I really want to share a few of the blessings my fellow illness-conquering beauties have recognised in their lives:
“My illness is a blessing because it has dragged me down closer to me. I have days when I can’t move or think. I frantically go hunting for energy on these days and the only reserve I find is…me. The me that is always there, waiting. It’s a stillness, a gentleness that I don’t think I’d have found if not forced down so low.”
Sarah Wilson | Australian media personality, journalist and blogger – Healing from auto-immune disease
“My illness was a blessing and not a flaw because I learnt so much about myself, but also about how fragile all life is. It has made such a positive impact on my life and I am now so passionate about taking care of our beautiful planet, our beautiful bodies & our beautiful animal friends – peace & love man!”
Amanda Rootsey | Eco model and blogger – cancer survivor
“My illness is a blessing, and not a flaw because there’s no way I’d be living the life I’m living now without it. I wouldn’t have bought a home out in the country and prematurely had a country change at 28 years of age unless I had chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome. But perhaps most importantly, it’s a blessing because it teaches me compassion, mostly for myself.
I thought it was my personality that didn’t like rigid structure, but I think it has been mixed up largely with my physical capabilities. I work hard, it’s not as though I don’t have a strong work ethic. But working 9-5 like other people just wipes me out. It makes me so ill. It always has. I thought I was lesser than others, that I couldn’t do what they did. But I’m coming to see my illness been a blessing because it’s forced me to find creative ways to work within those limitations and develop other income streams and other creative outlets.”
Nicola Chatham | Organic gardening coach – healing from chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome
Do you have any other benefits to add to our list?
Positive affirmation for the day: I am open and willing to change.
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