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The 3 Words That Help Me Find the Positives About My Illnesses

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“Be obsessively grateful.”

It’s in my Twitter bio, pinned on my Pinterest account and is even my lock screen on my phone. Several people have asked me why this quote is so important to me. It’s strangely worded.

Yes, the word “obsessive” can indicate a behavior that isn’t exactly positive, but I love how that connotation clashes with the positive understanding of the word “grateful.” It creates an eloquent statement in my mind. Something quirky — words that shouldn’t be next to each other are.

I have an obsession with words. If you don’t know me, I major in speech language pathology with a minor in linguistics. I freaking love words! So when I come across beautiful quotes to live by, I can’t help but appreciate the loveliness behind the semantics and pragmatics.

Being obsessively grateful might sound strange, but it works. I remind myself to be grateful of anything positive in my life.

I wake up and thank God for another day — I am grateful.

I have amazing friends who listen to me and are willing to work hard at our relationships — I am grateful.

I have a really special relationship with my family. It’s close, loving and something not all college students have — I am grateful.

I look for the positives in every situation right now. There are so many things that I could focus on that would bring me down, but why do that when you can work to be positive? Thankfulness towards others shows your appreciation for them, plus I’m leading a much happier life despite what I’m going through.

Being ill can lead to negativity. Your body is falling apart, you’re living a new lifestyle and you have to adjust to something you never wanted to go through. Being “down in the dumps” and only looking at the negatives of being ill can only bring you down further.

I look to find what I can be grateful for about my illnesses. They have taught me so many life lessons and have shaped me into a better person. I am grateful for my illnesses because they showed me how strong I am. My illnesses brought new friends into my life that I would never have met otherwise, and they have taught me to be more trusting and open with others. These are just a few of the ways I try to be grateful in my situation.

Do I have bad days? Absolutely. There are days I can’t find the gratefulness or be happy. Days where I cry and scream and curse everything under the sun for what’s going on. I curl up in my bed and cry until my eyes are puffed closed, until my tear ducts can’t produce anymore liquid and until the sobs wracking my chest make me feel like I have broken ribs.

Those are the days I have to pick myself back up. Those are the days I have to repeat my mantra, “Be obsessively grateful,” and tell myself to find one thing that was positive in my day. Something as small as having brownies for dessert or thanking God I will never have the threat of losing my mobility.

Negative things happen to everyone. Everyone has bad days, everyone has difficult burdens and everyone has something to complain about. But as my absolute favorite Hollywood starlet Audrey Hepburn once said, “Happy girls are the prettiest,” and doesn’t being obsessively grateful make you happy?

Follow this journey on Walking Through the Fog.

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Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Originally published: November 30, 2016
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