Emphasize the positive…Eliminate the negative

Life is what we make it. We have freedom of choice, of what actions we take and how we choose to be. We can either be positive or negative. We can choose either love or fear.

It takes just as much energy to be positive as it does to be negative, but look at the difference in quality of life, health, relationships and success.

It’s more fun to spend time with people who are cheerful and co-operative than those who are critical and difficult. People with positive attitudes experience more happiness, social success, academic achievement, and career accomplishments than those who tend to be gloomy.

Negativity is successful, both for the negative person and for those who have to spend time with them. Although some people are blessed with more optimistic temperaments than others, positive attitudes and habits can be learned, as can negative ones.

Cancer may not be life-ending, but it usually is life-changing. A cancer diagnosis instantaneously turns life upside down for patients and families.

Through my experience with breast cancer, I learned the powerful impact of one caring person. Wether that person is a doctors assistant, a counselor, a friend or a relative-it’s one person who can make a positive difference.

The harsh reality is that you also become painfully aware that some people are not positive and life giving. Rather, their negative or thoughtless interactions are draining and in some ways it’s toxic. Draining you of hope and strength and courage needed to make strides to overcome.

I learned the hard way that I needed to protect myself as much as possible from contact with negative or thoughtless people. At the very least I would have to distance myself from this type of person or acquire the ability to say stop. I never realized that just like the weeds in a garden rob flowers of moisture, nutrients and sunlight, so too the “weeds” in my life were robbing me if vital energy I needed to stay strong through all my surgeries and recovery. I could not afford to allow interactions with the negative Nillies to steal my mental strength.

In a perfect world, everyone gathers around cancer survivors and supports them in a way they need to be supported. Since the world is not perfect, I needed to make a few changes. I needed to eliminate the negative as much as possible and the accentuate the positive. It sad who one of the negatives in my life turned out to be. But like the flowers in my garden turn toward the sun, I decided to focus on the loving, beautiful connections in my life. I chose to truly appreciate and treasure the people who cared for me and doted on me. I know that their positive actions made my decisions easier to handle.

Many people give us a hug, make an affirming comment or lend a helping hand and never think about it again. They don’t realize that it makes all the difference to us as cancer survivors when we sometimes wonder how we’ll make it through another day. It’s that positive nurturing connection, that heart-to-heart connection, that not only will counteract all those sterile needles or machines or unthoughtful words you might have to face, but will continue to warm our hearts years later even on the chilliest of winter days.

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