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Is It Your Fault If You Get Sick?

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Is It Your Fault If You Get Sick?

While researching my book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself, I noticed how much push-back you get when you start talking about the self-healing superpowers we all possess. After all, if, at least a percentage of the time, we can heal ourselves, what does it mean if we’re sick – that it’s our “fault,” that we’re not doing something “right,” that we’re slacking off on the self-healing process, that we’re being punished for bad deeds in a past life, that we’re somehow less than because our bodies are acting up?

In Part 1 of this blog series, I shared the reaction I got from people like you in my social media community. I also shared how authors and healers like Dr. Bernie Siegel answered when I asked them that question.

But I never got around to telling you what I think. So here goes.

Some Illnesses & Injuries Are Avoidable

There’s zero place for the idea of “fault” when you’re talking about the healing process. Whether you did anything to bring about your illness or not, blame, shame, guilt and other damaging emotions like that are poison to the body, mind and soul.

Yes, sometimes we make choices that result in largely preventable illnesses. If you’re a three-pack a day smoker and you get lung cancer, well… you knew that was a possibility, right? If you’re boozing it up from dawn to bedtime every day and wind up with cirrhosis of the liver, well… um… you knew that too. If you’re choosing to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, eating nothing but Big Macs 24/7 and packing on the pounds while never leaving the couch potato heaven of your living room, well… you’re probably hanging your head a little when you wind up in the hospital. If you never wear a seatbelt, carbo-load when you’re diabetic and snort cocaine, well… I won’t saddle you with a lecture because my guess is you’re already feeling pretty shitty about yourself if you wind up sick.

Please, love. Skip the guilt trip and the blame game. Just don’t. What’s done is done. Forgive yourself. Let your body’s wake up call spur you into action, but don’t beat yourself up for what’s in the past. All you can do is change what happens from here forth.

Some Illnesses & Injuries Are Plain Bad Luck

Some helpless babies are born without a gene. Some are born blind. Some pedestrians minding their own business are struck by drunk drivers. Some people working out at the gym while drinking their green juice are the victims of gym equipment malfunctions that leave them paralyzed. Some innocent bystanders are injured in random drive-by shootings.

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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 and also created two online communities - and 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.


+ add your own
10:31PM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

its true whats written v good

10:30PM PDT on Mar 15, 2013

very good

8:28AM PST on Feb 21, 2013


4:32AM PST on Feb 6, 2013


4:23AM PST on Jan 31, 2013

Thank you

5:23PM PST on Jan 29, 2013


8:23AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

It is true that for many people who have been abused, suffering with the ill effects for perhaps much of one's life time does change one's outlook on life as Heather G mentions.

Sadly many Victims take years to become Survivors and from there sometimes become Advocates and voices for those unable to speak or defend themselves. Abusers win when we fall into an abyss of depression even if we mask it with outer happiness. One way of fighting back is to work through trauma/s and become one who can strive in Life and Thrive within and with others. This can take years and some of us don't make it, yet the struggle ad often victory of escaping the abuser's bony and ruthless grip helps us to heal cutting down on other illnesses we may acquire be they emotional or physical as Mind, Body and Spirit are linked.

7:13PM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

well not exactly, but you can do a lot to prevent sickness! eat right, exercise, take your vitamins, stay up to date on your knowledge of vaccines, illnesses, prevention and treatments, dress appropriately for weather, avoid sick people ect

5:20PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012 without?...x

8:25PM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

Hmmm... I think "rich cocktail" instead of "rich tapestry" is a better choice of words (referring to my earlier post).

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