Before I was diagnosed with lymphoma two years ago, I was consciously working toward a more mindful and positive life. Leading a positive life does not mean that only positive things will happen to me. It meant that I would overcome the negativity and toxicity that entered my life with a positive mindset. This was crucial in my road to recovery when I was diagnosed. I made the decision, on the day I was told I had cancer, that I would be OK and I would get through this — with a positive attitude.
Easier said than done. Being positive and overcoming something so tragic with positivity takes a lot of work. It takes an extremely conscious effort to choose to see the good in something so evil. And sometimes there is no good to see, and overcoming that is an even bigger obstacle. I spoke about that in a recent video on my YouTube channel.
The first step to my practice was to accept myself and where I was at that moment. I had to know that I cannot change what is not in my control and accept that. It meant looking in the mirror and accepting that there was a lump in my neck. The next step I chose was to heal. I had to accept that I had the power to control what I did with my negative and positive feelings. The same is true with losing my hair.
The second step required me to find a positive in my not-so-positive situation. For me, it was not easy to do this. I had just moved across the country, was about to start my senior year of college, and don’t even get me started on needing to quit my kickball league. Through my experience, I discovered tremendous amounts of positive outcomes from my diagnosis. They were there, I just had to look really hard. I made wonderful new friends, I found new passions, and I let go of a lot of unwanted toxicity that presented itself in my life.
Now, it’s time to look at my environment. In order to have a positive mindset and successfully overcome adversity with positivity, our tribe needs to attract our vibe. Look around you — who has the same goals, morals, and visions as you? Who is in line with your path to positivity? Keep them there. Who isn’t? Ask yourselves what positivity they contribute to your experience. Spend a little less time with those who do not contribute to your positive growth, and consume that time with those who lift you up.
It won’t be easy. These observations can be wide eye-openers that provide truths you may not be ready for, yet this is a crucial step to overcoming adversity with positivity. The hardest part for me was to adjust the negativity within my own family because they were constantly around and they were who I needed most. My best piece of advice for that is to loudly vocalize your needs and to be an advocate for keeping the negativity away from you. Changing people is out of our control, but changing our environment is not.
Be easy on yourself, don’t make mountains out of molehills; focus on the bigger picture and get through the bumps with grace. Through my treatment, there were many obstacles that I faced before reaching remission. They may have been hard and exhausting, but I knew they weren’t the mountains I needed to conquer. Chemo and cancer were what I needed to get through. The other obstacles were molehills that I had to trek over to get there. I had no control over them happening or not, but I did have control of HOW I got over them.
I can’t stress enough that, as humans on this earth, it will be natural to still feel negative emotions. That is more than OK. I want you to feel them and learn from them. If you practice the rest of my steps, you should always be able to come back to your positive core. I believe in you. I know that no matter what adversity you’ll face, you can do it with positivity.
Always remember, everything’s going to be OK.
Note: Lymphoma News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lymphoma News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lymphoma.