Trying Not To Be Sick

Are you giving yourself what you need to move back into balance, or are you desperately trying to make something go away?

Artwork©Anna Konstantinova/123rf

Have you ever found yourself trying to make sure something didn’t happen? Put all your energies into the avoidance of something? Built your life around making sure the thing you didn’t want to happen, didn’t?

Not long ago, I found myself bumping up against a mindset, which I will call “trying not to be sick.” This was a surprise to me as I value being sick and the ways it gives my immune system a stretch, offering the necessary genetic upgrades my body needs to be in harmony with the world I live in. Being sick teaches me so much about myself, like what’s working in my life, and what’s not. Not to mention, I have lots of tried and true go-to’s that I lean into when I am not well, and that I trust implicitly.

So, being sick is not something I typically fear. Or so I thought. For lurking far beneath the surface of my awareness, beneath years and years of aligning to a belief system that trusts my body in illness, there it was. I realized how heavily invested I was in not being sick.

It got me thinking about a whole bunch of things. First, how incredibly intractable old belief systems can be even after you thought you had moved beyond them. For instance, the cultural notion that being sick is somehow bad. But there I was, trying to bypass the experience of illness because it felt like something was wrong. And this led me to thinking how terribly, terribly wrong we’ve got it as a collective when it comes to what it means to be alive in both sickness and health. What I mean by that is, there is a cultural narrative we have bought into that says, “I am well, and that is the most desirable state to be in. I am sick, and that is undesirable and to be avoided.”

The truth is, I choose a mindset when I find myself sick. There is a vast difference between trying not to be sick, and supporting yourself back to health. This necessary distinction originates in the mind, so pay attention to the thoughts you think when it comes to getting sick. Notice the words you use with yourself and others, and how often you create a victimized story where something is being done to you. And then watch your actions. Are you giving yourself what you need to move back into balance, or are you desperately trying to make something go away?

Illness can be an occasion to reset and to learn how to take better care of yourself. It is a chance to follow the breadcrumbs back to learn how you got yourself out of balance and how to begin to find your way back. If, instead, you are living terrified by what can happen to your body, you will miss the sense of opportunity in what you can learn.

But only if you can see it that way.

It’s important to point out that we cannot always avoid being sick, no matter how good our lifestyle choices may be. Being ill is an opportunity to see where you have gotten out of harmony with the truest needs of your life, and to use an uncomfortable experience to inform and guide you back into balance.

This is one of those enormous Earth-is-not-flat paradigm leaps where we put into action the belief that we create our own reality. This means where our attention goes, our energy flows. Where our energy flows, the result is creation. What we focus on matters — a lot. When we focus on healing, as opposed to not being sick, we experience healing.

Sick or not, every minute of every day, you have a choice to focus your attention on what you want or what you don’t want. When something in your body does not feel well, are your words and thoughts encouraging you to move towards health or are they focusing your attention on limitation and fear?

Choose as often as you can to align with the possibility that your next illness is a gift in your life and something to be learned from. Do this as often as possible. Get your mind in the habit of orienting to what you most want. It will take time, but what better way to spend your time than devoted to what you actually desire for life in this body?

Susan McNamara is a woman who cares deeply about how we are living and how it is that we treat ourselves, each other, and the planet. She is the founder of The Healer Within: A Unique Online Health & Healing Community for Women and the author of the book, Trusting Your Body: The Embodied Journey of Claiming Sacred Responsibility for Your Health & Well-Being. Contact her at or visit

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