Recently, I was deeply inspired by a good friend who had been painfully sick for the past two weeks. As she talked, I could feel that she was deeply appreciative to be feeling better. She actually seemed to be basking in her renewed feeling of well-being.
And as for the last few weeks of her life, was she bitter that she had had to endure tremendous pain? Was she angry that she had to take two weeks off work and participating in the activities she loved? Amazingly not! Her attitude was quite the opposite. She was grateful that she had had the chance to catch up on lots of reading and journaling and highly appreciative that so many people had supported her when she was ill. What a refreshing perspective!
When we are physically ill, we almost always have some mental perspective on it. My perspective whether I have a stuffy nose, a skinned up knee or something more major is almost always, “I don’t want to be sick” and “I don’t want to waste time being sick.”
I doubt I’m at all unique in either of these perspectives. In fact, I bet those two statements are actually something most of the world would agree upon.
Inspired by my friend’s example, it occurs to me that adding more words to those “I don’t want” statements can powerfully change our perspective on being sick. The phrase we could add to these “I don’t want” statements might be, “so what I do want is.” And then we have the opportunity to fill in the blank. An example of this addition is, “I don’t want to be sick, so what I do want is to be healthy.
When you make the “so what I do want” addition to your thoughts and conversations when you are sick, you immediately begin to turn your thoughts and emotions from being sick towards being well. This switch motivates you to focus on your method of recovery, on being in good humor (and even having fun) and on being appreciative of the people around you as you recover.
While saying the words, “so what I do want is” and filling in the blank when you are sick doesn’t instantly take away your illness or pain, or substitute for any other medical or healing modality, it does afford you the capacity to see beyond the present circumstance of your illness. With this capacity, you begin to move your thoughts towards the renewed health that you want and to even enjoy the process.
Game of the Day
Put this blog post in your mental medicine cabinet and take it out whenever you need it.