Are You Too Hard on Yourself? Let’s Change that!

As someone living with health challenges or a specific chronic condition, have you ever asked yourself the following: what if I led a healthier lifestyle, ate differently or exercised more often?

By Cindy Pivacic.


We have all, to some degree, been there, and I include myself here. The practice of self-condemnation, self-guilt or self-reproach, whatever you choose to call it, can be harmful if you are powerless to get out of this thought pattern.

My self-recrimination lasted for six years, as I believed that through my actions, I brought this upon myself (specifically, my HIV status), which in part I still think about but no longer beat myself up about, knowing that I took the necessary precautions, and consequently failed to stand by my usual precautionary standards, and allowed myself to be at risk. I eventually acknowledged that the person who knowingly infected me had more accountability than me. By adjusting my mindset, I could move forward and use my diagnosis to educate and support others.

Some possible reasons that people have self-condemnation thought patterns when it comes to their chronic health challenges are:

Feeling like they are a burden: People with chronic health conditions may feel like they are burdening their families or society. Feeling this way can lead to self-blame and self-condemnation. 

Discrimination associated with the condition: Some chronic health conditions are discriminated against in society, such as mental health conditions or sexually transmitted infections. People with these conditions may internalize the discrimination and feel like they are somehow responsible for their disease. 

Loss of control: Chronic health conditions can often make a person feel like they have lost control over their body and life. The loss of control can lead to feelings of helplessness, contributing to self-blame and self-condemnation. 

Fear of judgment: People with chronic health conditions may worry about being judged by others for their health status. The fear of judgment can lead to feelings of shame and self-blame. 

Negative self-talk: Chronic health conditions can be challenging to manage, and easy to fall into a pattern of negative self-talk, and negative self-talk can lead to self-blame and self-condemnation.

To counteract the above, practice these strategies:

  • Practice self-compassion
  • Challenge your negative thoughts
  • Focus on solutions
  • Engage in self-care 
  • Seek support

Self-condemning thought is a normal part of the human experience, but these thoughts do not have to control your life. By practising patience, you can learn to stop these thoughts and cultivate a more compassionate and positive mindset.

A chronic condition can affect anyone. How you manage it is what makes the difference.

You can get cover of up to 3 million rand for your chronic health condition and up to 10 million if you are living with HIV.

SMS CHRONIC to 33857 to find out more. 

I did!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, and is not a substitute for professional consultation with a health professional.


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