Do you know that there is always a life lesson or two to be learned in every situation of life? Well, I believe there is.

And this also includes living with a chronic illness. Maybe living with a chronic illness isn’t all bad after all. There are some positive lessons to be learned in a life with chronic illness.

I live with a chronic illness called sickle cell disorder, and I have learned some life lessons which I will share with you in this post.

Now, Whether you live with a chronic illness or not, these powerful life lessons will surely help you on your life journey

Let’s get to it.

15 life lessons I learned from living with chronic illness

1. Take responsibility of your health & life 

It’s no surprise that this is coming at number one. It is one of the most important life lessons I learned and I have kept in mind.

What I learned is that no one will give you the kind of life you want. Not the government (well, a good government can only assist), or your parents.

The life you want can only be created by you and you alone. Whether that is a healthy life or a financially free life. You are 100% responsible for creating the life you want. I learned this when I read awaken the giant within by Tony Robbins.

Your health is your responsibility. Maybe it wasn’t your fault you have that disease but it is your responsibility to thrive as much as you can with it and become your best. 

I know to learn and reminding myself every time that no one (including the government) owes me anything, I owe myself everything has changed my life in a massive way.

You might disagree slightly with me that you are 100 % responsible for your life, maybe you think the government owes you something or your family ought to do something for you. It’s fine and that leads me to the next life lesson.

Life lessons learned you can learn from living with sickle cell disorder

2. Always respect difference

As humans, we were not created to be the same.

I remembered feeling confused and lost when I was younger because I didn’t get a pain crisis often. A pain crisis is one of the most common complications of sickle cell disorder. Usually, it is called a vaso-occlusive crisis.

As I grew older, I learned that we are all different and sickle cell affects everyone living with it differently.

Now, this cuts across life too. We are different beings.

Our differences arise from stuff like our culture, experience, education, exposure even genetics.

You don’t have to feel bad for being different and don’t make others feel bad for their difference.

Always respect differences.

3. Now is all you have

This is a life lesson I learned quite early in life and I wished everyone knew and used this lesson in their life. 

Sickle cell is an unpredictable illness. This moment you’re feeling well, the next there’s pain ruining your day. This unpredictable nature has helped me understand that all I have is NOW.

Take action, don’t wait till everything is fine because you don’t know tomorrow. Live your life, do the things you love and be happy.

All you have is now. 

4 No one/nothing defines you

For some, it is difficult to see beyond their health issues. But for me, I’ve always known that I am more than sickle cell disorder.

I don’t let it define me.

So, nothing has the power to define you.

Look, it doesn’t matter who you’ve been in the past or what you’ve been through, only you can say who you are.

Your education or experience doesn’t define you either. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t let pain get the best of you and define you.

5. The best thing to invest in is you

Investment is good but the best investment is the one you do to yourself. Whether you are investing in your health, knowledge, or relationship, the return is always awesome.

It might look tough at first but it is definitely worth it. 

Read from the well of good books. Learn how to develop healthy habits and keep investing.

An important investment I’m in right now is investing in my health by eating more healthier foods and exercising more often.

6. Don’t compare

Comparison is a killer joy. Unfortunately, we live in a world where it is easy to compare our lives to others. 

Yes, I’m talking about social media.

You don’t have to feel bad because of what you see on someone’s feed.

Life is unfair to everyone but you barely see the unfair part of people’s lives on social media. See, you can’t take social media seriously.

I want you to know that you are doing absolutely well in life. No one is perfect and this is something we need to remind ourselves.

However, it is not just social media. I learned that it is important not to compare myself with other people living with sickle cell.

Because something works for them does not mean it would work for me. I need to find what works for me and live my own life without feeling bad.

7. Don’t be afraid to try

Whether you’re trying new things or trying again, you should not be afraid. Fear of something new is something we’ve been taught from childhood.

As a child with sickle cell, I was usually told what to do and what not to do because of sickle cell crisis and complications. I was not allowed to do some things or even try them.

If you live with sickle cell, I’m sure you would relate.

So, when we are encountered with new things as adults, the fear begins. We are scared if we can do it. We think we don’t have the strength or would have pain after doing it.  

I’m learning to give anything I want a try, not minding the effect but also putting my health first. 

8. If it doesn’t kill, it’ll end

One thing I know for sure is that what doesn’t kill you should make you stronger. 

Life lessons learned from chronic illness quote

No matter how long whichever bad situation you’re in, if it doesn’t kill, it’ll end. But while it is there, make sure you don’t lose yourself. Stay positive.

9. Be intentional

Living with sickle cell disorder made me understand that life is indeed short and you have to act fast. 

Being intentional is important because you don’t want to waste time doing things that are not very important. So be intentional about your life, goals, and everything else. 

10. Little progress is progress

Have you read the book ”Eat that frog” by Brian Tracy? If you have, you will know how important it is to not focus on how big the task or goal is but how you can take them bit by bit.

We’re usually so concerned about the big changes and big things like our big goals, our big dreams that we forget the small ones.

Sickle cell has taught me that I don’t have to do huge tasks at once. I can break them down and take them little by little. 

The little things matter. In the compound effect by  Darren Hardy, he said the little actions towards a particular goal overtime compound to success. 

So true, this lesson has helped me deal with anxiety and worry.

Whatever your goal is, whether that is eating healthier foods, or increasing your financial status, it starts with little steps. And the little steps matter (a lot). 

11. There is no one way to getting things done

Let’s take a football match as an example here. 

The goal of every football match is to get the ball into the opponent’s net but there is no one way to doing that.

In fact, no one really cares about how the ball goes in. What they care about is that the ball crosses the line into the opponent’s net. 

The same applies to our goals in life, there’s no one way of achieving our goals.

Having sickle cell has made me learned that you might be physically stronger than me but I can use explore my other strengths to achieve the same or even better result.

There is no one way to getting things done, you can find the path that works for you.

It doesn’t matter the path we take, as long we get the result that is achieving that goal.   

12. Failing is good, embrace it

Life lessons are learned every day whether from chronic illness or not. This particular one, I didn’t learn it from living with a chronic illness.

This is a life lesson I learned after failing multiple times so I thought it is a very useful one to add to the list. 

Failing is important in life.

When you fail, you will learn from your mistakes and try again. However, when you try again, you are no longer starting afresh, you are starting from experience. 

Life lessons learned from living with a chronic illness


There is no doubt that life with a chronic illness is tough. It has its ups and downs just like every other thing in life.

Who knows living with a chronic illness can teach one so much about life?

Having lived with sickle cell for over twenty years, I have learned some life lessons. The good thing is, life keeps teaching me more and I’m still learning.

These life lessons learned from living with a chronic illness are lessons that would help you whether you live with a chronic illness or not.

If you learned one or two things in this post, let me know in the comment section.

And support me by sharing this post with friends. Also, please follow me on Instagram.


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