Posted by: gaylejervis | February 3, 2011


Do you ever feel like your life is on hold while you are ill, and that your life will only be on a par with others if you become well?  In the meantime, you struggle with not being quite as “good” as those who are busy being productive.   I have recently been chastised for this attitude when a very good friend visited me and not even knowing that I had been wrestling with this problem, she looked at me and firmly said, “You are not less than!”

Why do so many of us  – and not just the chronically ill – feel inferior to someone else just because we cannot check off our credentials, our accomplishments, and our list of activities?   Even as Christians many of us have bought into the world’s definition of success and when we cannot perform in accordance with this criterion, some of us have our self-image seriously shaken.

I came across the following quote from the book You Don’t Look Sick.: “To live well you need to understand that in a fast-paced, success-oriented society you are still valuable, even though you may be bedridden, unemployed or suffering from chronic pain.  The way to do this is to retain a positive self-image and a sense of usefulness.  This is difficult to do, but essential.”

She got that right.  It IS difficult to retain that positive self-image even if you had a healthy self-image before you became ill.  Therefore, these next few days I thought I would look more closely at the following web-site’s steps to a positive self-image to determine if they could help those of us whose self-image have been affected by years of illness. The following web-site seems to represent much of what I have read on the internet about self-image and so I am going to consider the following steps:

Take a self-image inventory

Define personal goals and objectives

Set realistic and measurable goals

Confront thinking distortions

Identify childhood labels

Stop comparing yourself to others

Develop your strengths

Learn to love yourself

Give positive affirmations

Remember that you are unique

Learn to laugh and smile

Remember how far you have come

QUESTION:  Have you retained a positive self-image during your illness or during any other difficult life circumstances?  Do any of the steps listed look helpful to you if your self-image has been shaken?



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