It’s Important to Forgive Yourself
Last updated: September 2022
Have you ever felt guilty for not being able to do something because of lupus? Has your guilt caused you some undue stress? How about just being hard on yourself due to your body not acting right? Any of these things sound familiar?
What lupus can do
Lupus can wreak havoc on the mind, body, and soul. Every lupus warrior has had those difficult moments where guilt and shame can hold them hostage. The constant barrage of pain and unpredictable situations of lupus can really beat a person up.
Lupus can make you feel worthless, unloved, and confused. A plethora of feelings and emotions that can take a toll on you. Sometimes lupus even steals the good you have stored up for yourself.
How guilt and shame shows itself
Shame comes so often because of the changes that lupus imposes on our bodies. One can feel shame when they have to apply for disability and stop working or use a handicap placard. Since lupus does not always show, the worry about people’s judgment can exasperate feelings of shame. In my walk with shame as I battle lupus, I often try to present like I am well and not sick at all. Then I am ashamed that I am shameful of a disease that sometimes I have no control over.
Beyond the shame comes guilt. Guilt about being a burden to your family physically and financially. I’ve experienced guilt for canceling plans over and over again. Guilt has even overcome me by the way I take care of myself. If my lupus is out of control, I feel guilty sometimes like I did something to cause it. Even when I am sick from a lupus flare, I have felt some guilt because I feel I am not doing enough and should be stronger.
Steps to move past guilt and shame
I have had conversations with myself over and over again. I have to talk to myself often in order to get past the guilt and shame of having lupus. First, I have to identify the shame or guilt and step back so I can analyze it. I look at it to see if a lupus flare has triggered these emotions or is it something that was set off by my conditions. Triggers are a big thing for me so I have to make sure I know what the trigger is to address it. My triggers are sometimes the scars lupus leaves or how I have to modify an activity that was so easy pre-lupus.
Second, I stop to see my worth. A lot of positive self-talk helps me through the guilt and shame. I say to myself how worthy I am beyond lupus and how lupus does not define me. Saying it and writing it helps me to believe it, live and act in that power.
Finally, I’ve had to realize how guilt and shame could harm me just as badly as lupus physically does.
Ultimately, I had to begin forgiving myself for being so hard on me. Understanding how important that forgiveness was has been freeing. I am able to give myself some self-love and compassion. This minimizes my shame and guilt about lupus and the fight I endure every day. So, take a moment just to forgive yourself. You didn’t cause lupus and you shouldn’t feel guilty about not being able to do what you used to do before lupus. Extend yourself some grace so you can fight lupus effectively.
Have you ever felt ashamed of having lupus? Did that shame ever cause you some guilt? Let’s talk about it in the comments.
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