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Is It Your Fault If You Get – And Stay – Sick?

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Is It Your Fault If You Get – And Stay – Sick?

I am currently writing the hardest chapter in my book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself.  Any time you write about self-healing, one painful issue comes up for any sick person. “If I can heal myself and I’m still sick, is it my fault?”

As a healer at heart, I think blame, guilt and shame have no place in the therapeutic relationship, but how should I address the fact that we have the power to heal ourselves without blaming sick people for their illnesses?

I decided to ask the wisest people I know – my friends on Twitter and Facebook!

Why Some People Self-Heal & Some Don’t

I asked why one sick person gets well and another stays sick or even dies. Was it the patient’s “fault,” per se? Was it divine will? Was it karma? Fate? Sheer bad luck?

Hundreds of people responded. Here are a few highlights:

Athena (@Martzca) posted, “Some people aren’t meant to get better. Some people are getting something in return from being sick and don’t want to let it go.”

@Gaelick tweeted, “A feeling of self worth. The person with it accepts the miracle, the other can’t.”

Savannah Alalia tweeted, “The one who heals is the one who has the courage to go wherever they have to physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually.”

Mary Roger Barrett tweeted, “Maybe they are [experiencing a miracle] and it just doesn’t fit our definition of what a miracle is.”

Erin Harnesh tweeted, “Everyone’s path is unique. Maybe someone has more learning to do with their illness, more enlightenment to see. God has His reasons.”

Adreana Leal wrote, “Sometimes the conscious wants to live, but the unconscious wants to die – or vice versa.”

Lisa J. Smith posted, “We all have different journeys and experiences. Positive thoughts are great, but divine order sometimes is greater. Some things we will never understand. We must have faith to trust all is as it needs to be, and maybe the healing is in the illness itself, not in the healing we think we want.”

Maya Hanley posted, “Sometimes we learn a lot about ourselves from illness. I think of people who’ve had terrible accidents and who go on to do amazing things in life because they heard the messages they were supposed to hear and then used what they learned to do good.”

Helena M. Falcon wrote, “I believe there’s a divine hand over us, and our path on this earth has been written. Some paths end with the illness, and miracles transpire in many other forms (as I experienced when my husband died of leukemia at the age of forty.) I believe his mission here on earth was done.”

Al Wright posted, “Healing does not always mean finding a total cure for illness. Sometimes, people heal in the process of dying.”

Sharon Martinelli wrote, “Some things are simply beyond our control and our knowing. One of the greatest frustrations I have experienced comes from reading well-intentioned books that make great efforts to connect our human ailments and diseases to our emotional selves and our dis-eases. This puts incredible pressure on the person who is doing their best to heal but is nonetheless losing the battle with their illness. Sometimes, acceptance is much grander and then can enable a patient to come to peace with where they are in that moment. Perhaps then a miracle occurs – or it doesn’t – and it is how we support one another through either outcome that is really important.”

April Cooper posted, “The question I would ask in each case is ‘How is the illness contributing to the person’s awakening?’ We each have a hero’s story to live. One person’s hero may be awakened by the illness, while another person’s awakening lies in something else, so the illness isn’t needed for the long-term.”

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities - HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.

87 comments

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6:27PM PDT on May 29, 2012

You know what? It is not anybodies fault for anything! Especially if they get sick. I am amazed and so is everyone else at the vaccinations that children receive today, and they save their lives! Medicine (iodine in salt) has been saving our lives for centuries, it is just that noone has been educated in this respect! If they knew, they would not do it! Education is the one and only answer! Viva les aboriginals!

9:07AM PST on Feb 8, 2012

While one's mental health, specifically attitude and determination to work towards healing, can impact the course of an illness and/or the quality of life one experiences even when one is chronically ill, it is cruel and ridiculous to ever suggest that anyone is at fault for their chronic illness or somehow responsible for the severity of its impact on their life. It is also a lot like putting the cart before the horse. Many people are happy, hopeful, and enjoying life because their health is so good, NOT the other way around. Try living six months with pain so bad in your arm that you wish someone would amputate it, then see how positive your thinking is before you condescend to judge the sick.

3:49AM PST on Feb 3, 2012

The positive thinking admonition can go too far in making people think everything is in their mind and then that they are responsible when something bad happens. Hope and optimism are good things and should help encourage ans strengthen us, not immobilize ourselves and start an unhealthy blame spirl.

7:59AM PST on Feb 2, 2012

exercise and eat organic in moderation = healthy :)

11:32AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

It's always a good exercise to examine your pay-offs if you get ill, to delve into what benefits there might appear to be (time off work, care and attention from family, getting out of uncomfortable responsibilities etc). I'm sure there are cases when it IS a person's own fault they get ill but more often I think it's to do with factors buried in the still deeper unconscious or even in contracts made between lives about what growth, learning and experience is needed.

10:19AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

do what will help, not hinder

10:05AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

As long as you know you are doing your best, be happy and move on.

8:34AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

Interesting topic. I enjoyed reading your friends comments on your question to them and I agree many are very wise. Thanks for the post.

6:10AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

This is a true Story.a friend of mine while he traveling in the train during the insurgency period a bomb blast in the compartment where he seated.He was badly injured his bowels exposed and wrap in a bag when he was hospitalized.and treated in the intensive care unit.
all relatives and congregation prayed for the speedy recovery .Prayers were answered he recover d.It is a Miracle Even Doctors had given up hopes of his life.To day he lives there are some side effects due to some metal pieces are still inside his body

4:06AM PST on Feb 1, 2012

We choose our attitudes and actions towards illnesses. We also choose how we respond to the results. Are we growing on our human journey?

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