The journey through cancer is a journey into the unknown. No one know how to respond, or what to do to help, let alone how to be encouraging and supportive. All anyone can do is to be understanding, not only with you the person effected with cancer, but also with the family members. Children may become disruptive or defiant, partners and friends may pull away and be unresponsive. These are not signs of them being uncaring or unloving; it is a sign of their own stress and knowing how to respond. You may find yourself not responding, or listening easily confused and lost. This is all normal and to be expected. Good coping tools are needed to help you through this challenging and stressful time. This is not a time to be taking on anything new and complex.
Cancer and its treatment can change your self-image. Some changes people will notice and other changes only you will notice. Some changes you may like and with some others, you may need time to adjust.Coping with these changes can be hard.
Managing the mind and lifting the fear of cancer and the challenge of a terminal diagnosis is an essential step to a positive healing outcome. But just how do you keep a healthy and positive outlook in such circumstances?
Coping with a cancer diagnosis is a difficult and personal process. In addition to physical changes, receiving a cancer diagnosis can cause emotional, psychological, spiritual, financial, and social upheaval.
Shock, anger, denial, fear, despair - these and many other emotions are common, normal responses to a cancer diagnosis, for both patients and their families. It can help to understand that your emotions will come and go. There will be bad days and good days.
Be gentle with yourself as you experience the feelings that come from a cancer diagnosis is essential and most utterly important. As you learn to cope with your disease, don't worry about appearing happy or cheerful if that's not how you feel.
You will probably feel a range of emotions during your cancer experience. You may have had these feelings at other times in your life, too, but they may be more intense now. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel, nor is there a right or wrong way to react to your feelings. Ask for help when you need it and explain to your loved ones about what is most important to you.
When you are living the greatest emotional upheaval of your life, when a catastrophe erupts it can affect every aspect of living. You may be batten down the hatches and go to ground. The only decision you can make as you deal with your situation is to be gentle and kind with yourself. You are your own best friend and can seek out refuges for the soul. Your soul needs protection and strength during trouble.
When you have cancer and when you are having treatment for cancer, changes occur. These changes can be hard to accept.This is the time when your own inner being calls you to be gentle, kind and compassionate with yourself.
A healthy self-love means you have no compulsion to
justify yourself to others or yourselves, why you take vacations, why you sleep late, why you feel not talking, why you spoil yourselves from time to time, why you decide for a special treatment or not, why your priorities , your view on life or beliefs are changing, why you say NO to someone else or their requests... You feel comfortable doing things which add quality and beauty to life.
It means to fully be with yourself in a deeply aware and non-judging way as a loyal and trustworthy friend.
When someone you care you instinctively be gentle with others when they are in pain or need comfort, usually with a feeling of sympathetic concern. Yet, when it comes to yourself, you may be at a complete loss of how to be gentle with yourself. You are going through a lot of changes when you are diagnosed with cancer; you deserve to have only gentleness and love from here on in. Repeat this to yourself often throughout the course of each day; eventually you will come to believe those words. It is my experience that people with cancer are critically of themselves and hard on themselves.
Be gentle, kind and compassionate with yourself, and your body will thank you! Promise yourself that you will treat yourself with tender compassion. Promise yourself that you will unconditionally accept exactly where you are in your process. Do not walk away from yourself. Be there for yourself. If you haven't done this before you became ill with cancer, now is the time!
Imagine creating a list that you might call your Compassionate Self - Care Recipe, which works for you, that you can draw upon anytime, anywhere in any given moment. Allow yourself a moment to compassionately care for the inner you. You are without question the most important person in your world, and creating a loving interior and tending to this space with compassion will allow you to see the world in the same way.
Find the willingness to be with Yourself. Make Yourself Priority and soak up Your Own Love.
Ask yourself: How can I be gentle to myself today? This week? How would be gentle to yourself alter the plan you make?
The Power of Self - Compassion, Gentleness and Kindness to yourself opens the door to Self - Healing
Go Easy on Yourself
I think that being gentle is something that most people think that they don’t have the time to do. It’s easier to just barrel through life without thinking too hard about anything. My philosophy is that – far from not having the time to be gentle, people don’t have the time not to do it.
When you have cancer it is essential for your healing to take time out and reflect on life and how you live it and what you think about things to do.
Being gentle, kind and compassionate with yourself does not mean that you are fragile and weak. Being gentle does not mean a lack of passion or strength. It means that you look inwards instead outwards and that you care for yourself.
Being Gentle and Kind to Yourself and having Self-compassion means to fully BE with yourself in a deeply aware and non-judging way as a loyal and trustworthy friend. It is a willingness to be with yourself as a loving companion to your own pain. Self-compassion includes care, concern, solicitude, sensitivity, warmth, unconditional love, tenderness, acceptance, mercy, leniency, kindness, and charity for ourselves. Compassion for yourself is a softness that flows within you and permeates your emotional / energy wound with acceptance, unconditional love and intimate understanding.
Do you have an inner drill sergeant that barks into your ears, to pull the socks up and to be strong? Are you a hard taskmaster to yourself?
When you care for yourselves, you will avoid actions that cause harm and do what's needed to reach your full potential. This means also that you are true to your priorities, that you are able to say NO to others and feel good about it. No one in the world knows your feelings and hurts as well as you do. You know all the intricacies and tendrils of them, firsthand and up close. Because of this you are the one most qualified to bring love to this part of yourself.
Self-compassion is seeing your most tender wounds without judgment. Showing compassion to yourself is being willing to see / feel the reality of your situation without covering it up or trying to “fix” it. Once this level of self-love occurs, a door opens to self-healing.
At this stage of your journey you will learn to deal creatively, gently and compassionate with the problems of your illness, and some troublesome side effects of it to the treatments you are receiving and to adapt as best as you can to the new life situation and your new self - image.
This is a time in your life when you should indulge yourself in kindness and gentleness. You will be very conscious of your body and what is going on inside it. But you are more then your body. Your spirit and your emotions also need a lot of attention and nourishment at times like this. Make sure your spirit is as good a state as possible.
For this reason you have to make sure that you don't allow energy sucking "vampires" on your energy bus, that you clear all negative people and situations out of your life. They can kill your spirit and good intentions to stay positive on your road to recovery. These energy "vampires" are the heralds of the doom - they are those "helpful" friends who insist on telling you the worst.
It is important that you disengage yourself from the harrowing headlines, magazine articles, television specials, and obituaries and also from health professionals (and sometimes family members) who don't believe in your potential to recover from your illness. These people and friends can drain your energy and have to be removed from your life if you are seriously committed to your back to health creation programme. Who you spent your time with and what you focus on have been shown to have an impact on your immune system, your outlook and healing prospects.
This is the time to ask for lots of emotional support, to stay motivated and work with persistence toward your goal (Link: setting goals ) to be healed. Asking for support is strength and not weakness. You don't have to be “be strong” and handle things on their own. You don’t have to be alone to be strong.
What you need is to focus with purpose on a well formed outcome of your healing on all levels.
Answer these question as honest as you can
- What is your ideal outcome? What do you WANT to have happen?
- What are you already doing to achieve that outcome?
- What new things can you and will you do to ensure achieving this outcome? (i.e. asking for support, creating a network of support, having a healthy diet, meditating, yoga, exercising, taking up a hobby, engaging with a personal mentor, be more assertive...)
- Is the outcome just for you - who else will benefit?
- What stops you now to achieve these goals?
What kind of help do you need to put your goals into action?
Emotional support is needed at every stage of the cancer journey, and it can come from many places. Along with your family and friends, consider other sources of support, such as your Health Creation Care Team (creating a support team mentor support ,cancer patient support ), support groups, and your place of worship. Asking for support is one way you can stay in control of your situation and makes it easier to accept yourself, to be gentle and kind and compassionate toward yourself.
Talking about what’s going on and how you feel can bring comfort and reassurance and enhances your strength to tap into your ultimate GPS, God's Positioning System.
Nourishing your emotional and spiritual well being will help you to stay motivated and to keep going with determination on rainy days and when you’re physically energy is low. Setting achievable goals, even very small ones, will help you to prioritise how you use your energy and what you want to achieve, from one hour to the next, from one day to the other, from month to month. Every baby step, you commit yourself to, will help you to achieve healing and reaching out to others, creating a network of helpers and supporting health creation team is one step in the right direction. You don't have to do it all alone.
Being Gentle and Kind to Yourself means also to say NO to someone else and Yes to Yourself!
At this time on your lifetime’s journey you can't afford trying to be nice to others at the expense of yourself. Having cancer is a great opportunity for you to learn to set healthy boundaries and look after your own and your bodies needs. It is important that you are staying true to your priorities. »» Living each day
Being clear about your priorities means saying no to things which are not on your priority list – which basically means saying yes only to things which are on yourself - care list.
Saying no to others is sometimes really a way of saying yes to yourself. You help yourself heal when you say no to requests or offers from others and may be treatments that don't make sense to you. Knowing your priorities and values helps you to put the brakes on the habit to put other peoples need before yours. Figure out a mantra you can say yes to yourself and no to others. On a long journey like a cancer you can make many small steps toward your healing along the way, learning to saying no is one of them. This may not feel all that significant at the time and so it is easy to feel that you are not achieving much, however you honour yourself and this is the message your body needs from you right now.
If you are so worried about trying to make everyone else happy that you neglect to make yourself happy, this can certainly be a problem. You may believe that to please yourself is selfish, and to please others is good and noble. This is not true! You have every bit as much right to be happy as anyone else. There is also no great virtue in trying to please everyone
If you are so busy trying to please other people that you don’t fulfill your own needs, you will wind up running on empty. It's like trying to feed everyone around you, while you starve yourself. This is not only very bad for you, but you will not be much good to anyone else either if you are not strong and healthy.
If you can identify with any of the following statements it is likely that you have difficulties to care for yourself, i.e.setting strong boundaries.
- I have difficulty telling others no.
- I feel guilty to have some Me -Time, to have fun or do nothing.
- If I say No, I feel that I don't give my best, regardless of my efforts.
- If I say no, I fear to loose my friends, or let them down.
- I need the approval of others to feel good and loved.
- Pleasing others is part of my identity.
- I rather use some excuses when I don't want to do something, or prefer to be alone instead of saying No.
- I hold back to avoid conflict.
- I take what others say and do personally.
- I always put others needs before mine.
- I change my thoughts and behavior to please others.
- I don’t ask for help from others.
- I don’t want to rock the boat.
- I say what people want to hear.
- I want everyone to get along.
- I want everyone to like me
Saying no without feeling guilty can be difficult; especially when it involves people you love or work with. But if saying yes makes you resentful or tired, you need to learn how to say no without guilt – and you don’t have to explain why or offer excuses. Learning this will create for everyone involve clarity. I have observed that many relationships getting sour by blurred boundaries.
A simple " I can’t help you with that,” or "I would like to meet / talk to you later" will do. Ignore your guilt! You need to learn stand up for themselves. To overcome the need to please, you need to be strong.
Make it your priority to please yourself.
Make sure you take all the time you need to support your healing and time to do things you enjoy. You are in the healthiest possible emotional and physical state when you are doing something that makes you lose track of time. When you do something you love so much, you are giving a gift to your body and mind.
It's not the responsibility of others to protect your healthy boundaries; it's yours.
You may like to copy the following Certificate of the Right to Play and put it on a place where you always can see and read it every day.
CERTIFICATE OF THE RIGHT TO PLAY TO PLAY
This certificate states that
is hereby and forever entitled to …
... Act silly... get excited about everything... be different... climb trees... get up early... do nothing... give up worry and guilt and shame... take naps... collect rainbows... feel sad...fly kites... be a clown... feel happy... be unique... blow bubbles... play loud music...
build sand-castles... change... dance... daydream... do things badly and not mind...draw and paint... enjoy your body... stay up late... fall down, get up again... trust the universe... un-make old rules and make up new rules... walk in the rain... get new shoes... go barefoot... have pillow fights... hide under the covers... hold hands..., hug and kiss...
make friends with other kids... find out how things work... make friend with yourself.. hug trees... jump in mud puddles... laugh and cry... learn new stuff... listen to music... look at the sky... love stuffed toys ...make a mess ...make magic, go on adventures, have a merry heart...
be challenged... make mistakes and be forgiven... paint their toenails purple... play under the covers... play with toys... read children’s books... say hello to everyone... see things differently... sing in the shower... sleep in late... smell flowers...
stop along the way... take bubble baths... talk with animals... tell stories...wander around aimlessly... watch the moon and stars come out... delight in life... and do anything else that brings more happiness...
celebration... relaxation... communication... health... love... joy... creativity... pleasure... abundance... grace... self-esteem... courage... balance... spontaneity...passion... beauty... peace..., energy and life to themselves and others on the planet.
Furthermore, they are officially authorised to frequent amusement parks... beaches... country-sides... mountain tops... swimming pools... forests... playgrounds... picnic areas,...birthday parties... circuses... ice cream parlous... theaters... aquariums... zoos, museum..., planetariums... toy shops... festivals and other places where children of all ages come to play.
When we plant a garden we don’t expect immediate results.
We just know automatically that it takes time to prepare the soil for the garden and then it takes time, dedication, commitment, attention, and patience to allow the seeds that you’ve planted to cultivate and extend their root systems and allow the harvest to grow.
In a similar manner we need time to cultivate the changes in our lives and our way of thinking. We naturally tend to be quite hard on ourselves expecting instant results or perfection in acquiring all of these new found and exciting steps that we want to immediately incorporate into our daily lives. It can become a vicious cycle if we end up being down on ourselves for not changing our habits instantly and garnering new found outcomes immediately. That’s where being kind, gentle, and patient with ourselves is the key.
In the same way we would tend to a garden we need to tend to develop over time our new found habit and when we recognize that we didn’t necessarily do something correctly o profoundly immediately then allow ourselves forgiveness and let the guilt or bad feelings go.
We can replace this bad moment of thought by developing for ourselves an image in our minds that encourages us to feel good. We can switch to that better feeling image and then continue to move forward in pathway of making change to how we think and feel about ourselves. Once gentleness and compassion arrives you may find that it does not always remain constant.
Sometimes it may mean making yourself do something that will be good for you even though you do not really want to do it.
Still other times it means putting everything on hold and just going out and doing something fun.
It always means setting gentle but firm boundaries for yourself that are in your best interest, much the same thing a good parent would do for their child. At times you may be consciously aware of the fact that you have lost a certain level of gentleness, and you will need to actively search for it. If you have lost a particular helpful perspective, try to consciously remind yourself of it. Very often that alone will help it to return.
Remember that this ebbing and flowing is natural and to be expected. Rest assured that once you have experienced gentleness, you can never again lose it for good. It will always return at some point. Keep in mind that gentleness may mean different things at different times. Sometimes being gentle means letting yourself cry, while other times it means forcing yourself to move despite pain. It always means setting gentle but firm boundaries for yourself that are in your best interest, much the same thing a good parent would do for their child. Throughout your recovery remind yourself to accept where you are in your own process. And above all keep striving!
The changes in our patterns of self-nurture can include a variety of new things. Meditation, sitting quiet, prayer, setting intentions, doing forgiveness exercise, setting goals, saying positive affirmations, doing I am statements and a host of other wonderfully practical and pragmatic approaches are all new patterns and habits that we are attempting to develop for ourselves to help expand our own self awareness and acceptance of ourselves. Ultimately we can all benefit from a boost to our self esteem, our own feelings of self worth, self confidence and one of the steps that we can take to get closer to our goal of feeling better about ourselves and loving and accepting ourselves is by practicing the steps of being kind, being gentle and being patient.
As you walk the road to recovery you may find yourself getting tired. At times your life may feel too difficult. I wish it was possible to make the landscape of your life brighter and smoother. If I could make the terrain you walk on gentler, I would in a moment.
Hold on to the fact that there is light, even when you cannot see it. Hold on to the fact that it is possible to lead a full life, even though your own may feel empty at this moment. Not knowing what to do at times, and struggling and trying to figure out what to do is the very thing that will lead you to freedom.
If you look inside your heart, really look; you will see a beautiful person with a kind and gentle soul. You will see a person who needs comfort, a person who needs you. As you search around in your heart, you will find the warrior spirit and courage that you need to heal, not only from cancer. You will find the courage to face your own inner saboteurs, your inner critic, and triumph over them. You will walk through your challenges. Remember that you bless this world and make it a more beautiful place to live in.
These are things you must tuck away and remember from time to time when the pain feels too unbearable. It is possible to have hope and soul shattering pain at the same time.
Keep going and never give up. You are too valuable, too special. Know that you are not alone: there are others who are walking with you in spirit.