Being sick is no fun. We all know that. But being chronically ill while maintaining a pleasant disposition is a daunting task even for the Greek gods. Every biological response in your body wants to lean into the creeping despair you feel. But by doing that with regularity, you’ll soon feel as if you’ve given up entirely on life. You no longer have the strength to try to tease apart threads of joy from the suffocating blanket of pain that covers you.

Quotes are one of the things I use to try to regain perspective in my persistent fight against the spirit of defeat that wants to take over when my resolve is down. Whenever I come across an inspiring quote, I write it down so that when I have an afternoon where I can’t write or do anything productive — except maybe just cry and feel sorry for myself — I can revisit my collection.

Here are some of my favorites that nudge me to choose health in the face of chronic illness:

  1. One cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what was great in the morning will be of little importance in the evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie. -Carl Jung
  2. The world is in a constant conspiracy against the brave. It’s the age-old struggle – the roar of the crowd on one side and the voice of your conscience on the other. – Douglas MacArthur
  3. Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. – Jacob A. Riis
  4. How surely gravity’s law, strong as an ocean current, takes hold of even the smallest thing and pulls it toward the heart of the world… This is what the things can teach us: to fall, patiently to trust our heaviness. – Rainer Maria Rilke
  5. Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. – Francis of Assisi
  6. Thank you, dear God, for this good life, and forgive us if we do not love it enough. – Garrison Keillor
  7. There must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors. – Adrienne Rich
  8. I long to accomplish a noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. – Helen Keller
  9. We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. This enables us to do something, and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest. – Oscar Romero
  10. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. – Marianne Williamson
  11. Nothing is more destined to create deep-seated anxieties in people than the false assumption that life should be free of anxieties. – Fulton Sheen
  12. The truth that many people never understand is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. – Thomas Merton
  13. Consider the redwood tree. When only a stump remains, the tree can nevertheless regenerate. Little sprouts shoot up from the buds of ancient, invisible roots and actually form a circle surrounding the old stump. This is a “cathedral circle,” and the survival of some of the buds guarantees that the redwoods do not die. – Anthony Gittins
  14. Hope doesn’t require a massive chain where heavy links of logic hold it together. A thin wire will do…just strong enough to get us through the night until the winds die down. – Charles R. Swindoll
  15. The world is more magical, less predictable, more autonomous, less controllable, more varied, less simple, more infinite, less knowable, more wonderfully troubling than we could have imagined being able to tolerate when we were young. – James Hollis

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Originally posted on Sanity Break at Everyday Health.