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.

Some Illnesses Are Genetic But You’re Not A Victim Of Your Genes

Sure, some people inherit a predisposition for multi-factorial illnesses, like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes or breast cancer. But as Dr. Bruce Lipton writes about in The Biology Of Belief, we are not victims of our genes. Although we can’t change our DNA, every gene has the possibility to express itself as up to 30,000 different proteins depending not only on the environment to which the gene is exposed (things like good nutrition, avoidance of toxins, and other healthy habits) but also depending on what we believe about our health. In other words, if you believe you’ll get breast cancer because your mother did, your mind’s beliefs can affect how that piece of DNA expresses itself. So believing you’re doomed to get cancer could actually tilt the scales in favor of getting cancer, whereas believing you’ll stay healthy may make it true.

Blaming your family for the “piss poor protoplasm” (doctor speak for “bad genes”) you inherit is a disempowering way to view your health. Taking responsibility for the fact that you can influence the outcome of how your DNA expresses itself through healthy habits and positive thinking puts the power back where it belongs – with you.

Most Illnesses Are A Combination of Factors

The way I see it, in all but a few instances, our health is mirror of how we live our lives. If you’re eating poorly, ingesting toxins and choosing to never exercise, you won’t be optimally healthy. But as I described in my TEDx talk, healthy habits aren’t enough to be completely vital.

You’ll also predispose yourself to illness if you close your heart when someone breaks it, you stay stuck in a soul-sucking job you hate, you cheat on your partner because you’re too scared to leave when you’re unhappy or unfulfilled, you’re engulfed in loneliness, your creative song goes unsung, you’re sexually frustrated, or you feel spiritually disconnected, there’s a good chance your body is gonna rebel at some point, especially if you ignore the body’s warning whispers.

Is It Your Fault?

So is it your “fault” if you get sick or injured? No. We’ve already established that we’re not gonna go there. But do you have the power to turn things around starting now? You betcha, precious!

While you can’t always control the outcome of your health journey, you can take your life and your body back into your own hands, make empowering choices and make your body ripe for miracles. (Learn more about how to do so here). When you make empowering choices, muster up the courage to implement the changes that will improve your health, and then release attachment to specific outcomes, understanding that illness can be a spiritual path we’re meant to traverse, you not only improve your chances of cure; you also experience deep peace with the process.

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this issue. Please tell us your story and share your wisdom.

Read Part 1: Is It Your Fault If You Get – And Stay – Sick?

Empowering you to own your body,


Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and health care revolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.



Beverly G.
bev g4 years ago

its true whats written v good

Beverly G.
bev g4 years ago

very good

Sue H.
.4 years ago


Loo Samantha
Loo sam4 years ago


Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Ram Reddy
Ram Reddy4 years ago


Dale Overall

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.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

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

Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago without?...x

Mark P.
Mark P.5 years ago

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