inspirational thoughts

I've got some inspirational thoughts for you that came about from a really trying, sick, year on my part. Making these shifts will change your life, as they have mine.

I am having a trying year. It is the beginning of May, and I have managed to get sick (like can’t-get-off-the-couch-with-this-fever, throat-killing, glands-swollen, cough-scarring-my-insides sick) four times thus far.

My sick leave has plunged to a dangerously sub-10 hour level after a distinct pattern of slipping into illness, being ill, regaining energy, feeling good for a week or two, and then slipping back into illness. The first time was normal, as I typically go through a 3-4 day period of the flu each year. The second time seemed coincidental, but I shrugged it off as my immune system unable to take on a different strand of bug or virus in its weakened state. By the third time I began seriously questioning my underlying health and contemplating whether or not my body had given up on me all together. The fourth time I felt numb and accepting of the idea that I may go in and out of sick cycles for the rest of my existence.

It’s been depressing and enlightening to say the least.

The depressing part is easy to explain, as anyone who has prolonged periods of illness can attest to its negative impact on quality of life and mood. Being sick is like being held in after-school detention on a warm spring day; it’s all about what I could be accomplishing, what I could be pursuing, what I could be fill in the blank.

Sickness being an enlightening process is the interesting part, and the lessons I have learned can be used for illness, financial circumstances, and life in general.

Inspirational Thoughts No. 1: ‘Why Me’ Thinking is Toxic

I am utterly convinced—having come out of a few “why me” sessions over the last few months—that this type of thinking can be paralyzing. To sit there and think negatively about your situation for a prolonged period of time will impair action, blow re-actions out of proportion, and make you ill.

It is completely natural to become discouraged, to have negative thoughts, and to entertain a few moments of playing the victim—and trust me, we’ve all been a victim at one time or another. But planting a negative seed and fostering its growth through continual negativity can suck the life out of you. In a very physical way, I figured out that when I allowed myself to plunge into this negativity for half a day or more, I literally felt sicker.

When I thought about all of the things I have to be thankful for, I stabilized. I am sure you can’t think yourself completely better, but I am equally sure that attitude plays a big role in the duration of illness or of any other situation in life.

Inspirational Thoughts No. 2: Avoid Over-Generalizing

It is so easy for me to over generalize by sweeping all of 2012 into the “bad year” category.

In fact, that is just what I did above! But the truth is life has ups and downs and oftentimes they intermingle. Even during the dips, there are nuggets of pure beauty and joy that perhaps I would not have known about or cherished as much if I had been well this whole time.

For example, being sick has afforded me the time to follow the saucy Nigella Lawson on her food shows—I’m a fan for life! We’ve been blessed this year with visiting family staying in our home either before or after I’ve been sick, so I have been able to fully enjoy their company. The weather has been mild and gorgeous, affording us many hours out in our backyard (heck, even the mosquitoes have held off until the last week or so).

Plus, I am just about finished with scrapbooking our pre-wedding/wedding/honeymoon era! That has brought me much joy.

Inspirational Thoughts No. 3: Negative Circumstances are Catalysts for Positive Changes

There are always things in life that take a back seat even though they are no less important than your current task. Perhaps it has taken me getting very ill to pay attention and make some necessary changes that otherwise would have continued to get lost in the torrent of work and mindless errands.

Spending many afternoons lying on a couch wondering “why” has motivated us to start taking food-based vitamins (the first time in our adult lives!), seek out and eradicate any mold issues in our home (i.e. the shower curtain), drink more water, and look into having our duct work cleaned and treated.

Inspirational Thoughts No. 4: Celebrate Everything Else that is Working

Around the third time the onslaught of illness crept in it felt tragic; I looked ahead over the next few days knowing that they would be spent watching the world spin by and that I could do nothing about it. During this period, I realized that life is such a delicate balance of many parts and even one of these parts swaying out of control can cause everything to lose that balance.

In other words, things working so seamlessly most of the time are more extraordinary than I ever thought before.

I suddenly was very thankful for the long periods of health, prosperity, and goodness that I have had. Just as I learned to stop over-generalizing, I also learned to celebrate what is working—the true miracle—rather than always fixating on the problems at the time.

Thankfully, the majority of people are not sick. But can we say that the majority of people are happy and accepting of their financial circumstances? Credit card debt, phrases like “keeping up with the Jones’” and reality television shows of the rich and famous mirroring the popularity of news segments suggest that many are not. I’m not going to pretend that I have been happy with my hand dealt these past few months. There have been many hours spent thinking, analyzing, and wondering what is going on with me.

However, I’ve worked to accept my circumstances and hope that others can do the same.

27 replies
    [email protected] says:

    As someone who has spent the last few years dealing with chronic migraines, I can totally understand those feelings of negativity and dwelling on all the things I could/should be doing. It is great that you are able to see past your current situation. I wish I had the good sense to do that during those times. It is important to cherish each moment we have, even in the down times. Feel better!

  2. Little House
    Little House says:

    I hope you start feeling better soon. I totally understand what it feels like to be thinking, “what the heck is going on with my body!?” I’ve recently become allergic to wheat and I think dairy (just yesterday ate cream filled crepes and got really sick.) I used to think I was invincible when it came to my health – well, no more. I’m just blaming it on age!

    It’s easy to slip into the woe-is-me thinking, but keeping a positive outlook makes the bad times not so bad.

  3. John @ Married (with Debt)
    John @ Married (with Debt) says:

    I don’t know what it is about being sick that makes me feel like it’s the end of the world. Probably because it’s something totally out of my control. Makes those things that you can control a bit easier though – FEEL BETTER!

  4. Lindsey
    Lindsey says:

    I hope you feel better soon, Amanda! I admire your determination to stay positive. With a positive spirit and strong mind, you’re going to overcome this obstacle too!

  5. ShortRoadTo
    ShortRoadTo says:

    I went through something similar about 7 or 8 years ago. I kept getting this chest infection. It took almost 4 months for it to finally go away. Never figured out why I had the infection so long even though I took antibiotics. Here’s a hug from me. I always like coming to your page because you have a great smile and it kinda brightens my day, so thanks.

  6. Mike
    Mike says:

    Hope you`re feeling better. As a kid & into my twenty`s I was always getting sick (colds,sinus infection, flu 4-6x/year) and felt like yourself woe is me at times. The last twenty years have been good. I get an annual flu shot,take vitamins, and eat relatively healthy. I`m somewhat convinced that it was all my previous illness that gave me the immunity I have today. I know that`s not all that encouraging, just my take.

  7. Julie @ Freedom 48
    Julie @ Freedom 48 says:

    I love the focus on using negative circumstances as a motivation for positive change. It’s always nice to put a positive spin on things!

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  8. Tie the Money Knot
    Tie the Money Knot says:

    I get how one could fall into “why me” thinking, particularly with a string of back luck. This might not just be health issues, but relationship problems, job struggles, etc. When someone tries hard yet faces problems, I think it’s human nature to get frustrated.

    That said, I agree with you on positive thinking. It’s tough to have positive things happen when we think negatively, so we might as well think positively. Celebrating what’s working is a great example, as you mention.

    • Amanda L Grossman
      Amanda L Grossman says:

      This absolutely goes for anything in life–that’s why I thought it would work with finances. Why Me just hurts yourself! Though ofcourse it’s nice to dwell for a little while before turning all positive…:)

  9. Shannon-ReadyForZero
    Shannon-ReadyForZero says:

    Wow, I had a very similar start to 2011 and the same enlightening experience. After being sick for the third time that year in March (after a lifetime of almost never being sick) I was at my wits end. It was at the point that I also realized I should just stop feeling sorry for myself, stop trying to have control over something I had no control over, and use the down-time to really think about my life. Well, by April, my life had improved dramatically! I’m sure it had a lot to do with my new outlook – to do my best at everything I could and give up control of everything else. The same really does go for finances! There are ways to take control of our finances but at the end of the day, it’s going to take time to either pay off debt or achieve other financial goals. Feeling sorry for yourself gets you nowhere, but forging on and doing everything in your power to improve your situation will work. Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope you’re finally back to normal!

  10. Invest It Wisely
    Invest It Wisely says:

    I hope you get better, Amanda. I became very frustrated with my “foggy head” feelings last year, especially when doctors said “whatever, nothing’s wrong with you” or would shrug and say “I dunno!”.

    About mindset, I got a bit depressed when I saw how much my finances had shrunk last month — lots of expenses and not so much income! After thinking about it rationally, it makes sense: lots of stuff I had to cover, and I’m still working on building my income. We don’t get to taste the fruits of our labour right away, but when we do, it will be sweet.

    Get better! 🙂


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  1. Frugal Confessions says:

    […] am making a conscious effort to be more present in life. Perhaps it’s because of all of the sick days I spent lying on the couch in contemplation this year, or maybe it’s because I am gearing up to turn the big 3-0 and have […]

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