Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Can Life Really Be Reduced to a Saying on a T-Shirt?

We were joking at work last night about common phrases and sayings in our industry (retail) bringing us all a chuckle.  I commented that I’d like to put a few of them on t-shirts.  My two favorites were “Your attitude determines the price” and “Favors equal problems”. 

Later in the evening someone had an order that cancelled and the sales person said to the manager, “At least I  tried”.  His response to her was, “Yes, but we’re a results oriented company”.  Once again I tried to figure out how I could fit this third saying on a t-shirt with only a front and a back and realized I’d have to put it on the sleeves. 

When I got home I started thinking about sayings and clichés pertaining to those who are facing a health challenge.  In fact, when I was facilitating a group for those with cancer and their families we came up with a list of clichés that were often said to them to help them get through their health challenge.  You know the ones I’m talking about, “But you don’t look sick”, or “Don’t worry be happy” and of course my favorite “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” (not knocking God…just the saying”). 

People in our lives feel as helpless about our illness as we may feel at times and that’s why they offer these clichés.  They honestly believe they are offering sage advice and comfort and we walk away thinking their nuts.  You and I know that these sayings are not really for people who are facing potential life and death issues.  They are geared to the general public who may be having a bad day, but overall life isn’t in turmoil.

So what am I asking you to consider?  I want you to discard the cliché and find words of empowerment that offer hope and the motivation to continue on your journey to feeling better or getting well.  What might that look like?  How about, “I have loving and supportive friends and family who will stick with me on my journey”.  “I’m a partner with my medical team on my journey to wellness”.  “I feel informed, included, and have a voice about my care and my life”.  “I seek information, I share my experience, my life has meaning”.  I’m not saying these should be on t-shirts either, but they are more realistic and thoughts or saying like these that empower can become a mantra that allows the body, mind, and spirit to unite in this unique challenge.

Have any sayings that help you get through your health challenge?  Put them in the comments section and let’s help each other out on this journey to health and healing.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s