Smile, though your heart is aching. Smile, even though it’s breaking. When there are clouds in the sky you’ll get by. If you smile through your fear and sorrow, smile and maybe tomorrow you’ll see the sun come shining through...” Music by Charles Chaplin, Lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons.
Last Thursday night our SurvivingBreastCancer.org our Thursday Night Thrivers virtual get together featured many beautiful, candid photographs of our attending community members. Interspersed with positive affirmations and members’ stories, these pictures invoked an insatiable desire to get through the darkest of tunnels and come out the other side. The omnipresent smiles and heartfelt emotions dominated the evening and left us uplifted.
So it begets the following questions: how can you maintain a positive attitude and keep your head up and your heart open while fighting cancer? Is there power in positivity? And how much potential is there in a smile? Let us start by acknowledging that you don't always have to be positive. Previously we have opined on allowing yourself to grieve and allowing time to vent your anger, frustration, and fears. Acknowledging your feelings and expressing oneself is critical. By doing so you can lessen the impact of Disenfranchised Grief and recognize that it is just as important as staying positive.
Surround Yourself with Positive Energy
Just thinking of those positive friends, family members, and community should bring a smile to your face. When you are feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, they bring a ray of sunshine and lighten your load. These supportive friends are there to help support you when you need it, so don't back away. You may want to talk about those deepest fears. These friends inspire you to be courageous when you are feeling afraid (and we all are at some point) and that helps make difficult decisions and choices less daunting. [As much as possible avoid negative people, they are vexations to the spirit.]
In addition to the positive people in your life, surround yourself with positive energy such as inspirational books, comedies, flowers and uplifting music - which can all help illuminate the way through the darkness.
Similarly, positive affirmations - statements you repeat to reprogram your subconscious mind to visualize a situation in a more positive light - can be quite helpful.
What makes you happy? What are you passionate about? Amidst the swirl of a medical diagnosis, second opinions, and active treatments, it is easy to forget that "You have a life." Take the time to close your eyes and step back from the world of cancer - dream of things you would enjoy doing. Your thoughts may surprise you. If you are having difficulty picturing yourself feeling passionate about something think back over the past several years. What were the highlights? Where did they come from? What brought you the most joy?
Now think of things you have never done but at some point in your life have thought you would enjoy. Create a “Bucket List” and set off in pursuit of a new passion. After all, you have just gone through a tunnel.
What brings you joy? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org