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January 24

Illness or Health / Illness and Health ?

Many of us are familiar with the definition of health as it is proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO): “The complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Naturally, we need to understand this statement in the context of the WHO’s constitution and associated politics and legislation.

But to make this view a bit more personal: how many people do you know to whom “ complete physical, mental and … etc” applies?

How realistic and people-friendly is a definition of health that excludes most of humanity, most of the time?

Definitions can bring clarity and common understanding, but standardizing fluid and complex life issues can also be very limiting and lead to rather one-sided evaluations.

On a personal note: the chronic pain and disability associated with lower spinal damage, has me walk with sticks and work from my bed most days. I am no longer the person I was, nor am I the person I once hoped I would be. And yet, I am also healthy.

And so it is with you. Whatever the condition that makes your life an exercise in perseverance, courage, giving up and trying again, you are not your illness, you have it.

Within the person who aches, grieves, falls down, crawls up and goes on, there resides a healthy human being.

No matter your trials, you are always a whole person.

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