It’s a mantra among cancer support organizations: Think Positive!
And it’s one of the things I hear the most complaints about.
I want to think positive, but I can’t.
It doesn’t feel right to think positive when I know the cancer could come back.
I live with cancer. How can I possibly “think positive”?
We’re about to go into October pink madness, and I see the hurt and conflict in so many survivors’ eyes.
Almost no one is prepared to receive a diagnosis of cancer. It’s typically a rude surprise, yanking the rug out from under your world as it was. In fact, cancer diagnosis plus cancer treatment may add up to a significant trauma, no matter how brave you were at the time. Some people struggle with post-traumatic stress long after treatment is over.
When you’ve been rocked by trauma, it can be a long, hard slog back to normal…much less “thinking positive”.
Now the folks who urge you to think positive mean well. They’re typically holding positive thoughts for you, and that’s a good thing. It’s nice to know someone else can see the possibilities in your future, even if you can’t.
But that gaping divide between what they see for you and what you’re able to envision for yourself can be painful. That’s a pain I see in too many survivors.
Your body may be so different that you can’t imagine doing the things you used to enjoy the most.
You may be struggling with anxiety, even depression. “Thinking positive” doesn’t even feel like a choice.
You may have lost a precious relationship or financial security, and you have no idea how to replace that loss. “Think positive” – are you kidding me?
Yeah, I get it.
And yet I know – I’ll bet you do too – that staying where you are could mean a long, slow surrender to a life that’s less than you want.
Is “think positive” the best advice for getting from where you are to where you’d love to be? Is there another, better way?
I’d love to hear from you. Comment below and tell me:
- How do you feel when you’re told to “think positive”?
- How easy is it for you to “think positive”?
- Would you encourage other survivors to “think positive”? Why or why not?