It is very difficult to heal or to feel good about yourself in a culture of shame and stigma. We are all affected by it, whether you have a physical, mental, or emotional health condition or not. We need to challenge the culture of shame and stigma by not defining ourselves or anyone else by their health condition, symptom, label, impairment, or disability. We are all differently-abled. Labels and symptoms define a health condition, not a human being. It is kindness and compassion that defines us as human beings.
How can you as an individual challenge the prevalent, harmful beliefs and assumptions that are being perpetuated by this culture of shame and stigma? Choose compassion over judgment. Where kindness and compassion is the norm, there is no shame or stigma.
A culture of shame and stigma perpetuates beliefs such as:
There is nothing that you can do to ease the suffering of others.
Life is suffering, so deal with it.
Humanity is unkind by nature.
People cause their own suffering.
No pain = no gain.
You know all there is about someone based on their health condition, label, symptom, impairment, or disability.
Having a particular health condition defines you as a certain kind of person, with a certain kind of behavior, with a certain kind of personality.
It is okay to attach labels on to people as a way of justifying unkindness or making assumptions about someone.
We need to know and understand someone in order to show or feel compassion.
Having certain kinds of symptoms or health conditions equates with negative personality traits or character flaws.
All the “ism’s” that dehumanize and demoralize people.
You are less of a human being if you have a certain kind of health condition.
Caring for others is enabling.
A culture of healing fosters beliefs such as:
We heal because we feel. Being stoic has nothing to do with healing. Emotional suppression is bad for your health.
There is always something that can be done to ease suffering. Compassion is the remedy to suffering.
Life is so much more than just surviving and enduring sickness and hardship.
How extraordinary it is that we have the ability to heal and to help others heal by virtue of our humanity. Humanity by definition means being humane, kind, and compassionate. Compassion is our shared humanity.
People respond better to gentleness, kindness, and compassion.
There are so many contributing factors that come into play as to why someone has a health condition. Everyone deserves to be treated with care and dignity.
The kinder you are toward yourself, the better you will feel.
We are all differently-abled. We all have a role to play in this life.
We are not a health condition, label, symptom, impairment, or disability. We are human beings. We are so much more than words that describe an ailment - those words were never meant to define us as human beings.
The best way to understand others is to first understand yourself.
Compassion comes from the heart, not the mind.
Healing is possible.
Having or living with a health condition requires enormous strength, adaptability, resiliency, determination, patience, and awareness.
Demonstrating care to others is healing for everyone.
Care and compassion is the foundation of healing. It matters how we deal with our own suffering and with the suffering of others.
Kindness and compassion are healing remedies.
Compassion is your heart’s response.
Judgment is your mind’s response.
Compassion acknowledges suffering and wants to ease it.
Judgment won't or can't acknowledge suffering and avoids it.
To help end health stigma, choose compassion over judgment.
Copyright © 2017. Sylvia Carlson. All Rights Reserved.
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