Monday, 21 August 2017

Weekly Discussion Summary ~ What would you say yourself in a pre-cancer letter?

‘You think you are saving for a rainy day, but when the heavens open, you’ll realise you were actually saving for a sunny day.’

If you were writing a letter to yourself, the self you were before your diagnosis of breast cancer, what would you say?

What are you waiting for my darling?
This is your one, true life – seize it, be bold and take chances.
Don’t live every day as if it is your last – live every day as if it is your first!
Do all the things you want to do today because tomorrow may never come. If you don't achieve everything, then that is also fine, but dare to follow your heart.
If you work long hours, running yourself into the ground, ask yourself if this is really the life you want.
If you are lucky enough to already be doing what you love, then celebrate it, but go about it wisely.
Remember to 'de-stress' and 'take perspective', look for what they call 'the bigger picture'.

Do more of what makes you happy – clean less and party more, save less and spend more, make time for more date nights.
Exercise more self-compassion, learn to appreciate yourself.
Remember that you are amazing – have confidence in yourself and all your abilities.
Stand up for yourself and put your own needs first sometimes.
Express your feelings – they will free you and allow you to be true to yourself.
The world will not stop turning if you say ‘no’ and you will still be a kind person.

Worry less about your weight and the size of your bottom and celebrate your body with all its glorious flaws.
Your body is a temple, nourish it, be kind to it, enjoy it.
Wear beautiful lingerie, buy that handbag, those shoes, those ear-rings.

Cherish those you love and hold them close; hug them tight and tell them you love them often.
Drop those people who don’t enrich your life or who drag you down.
Not all your friends will be there for you or support you when you most need it, but you will be okay.
That advice that you are so good at giving others “to slow down, and be kind.” Follow your own advice.

Don’t be afraid to allow the sadness in.

Get a cat sooner. Or a dog. And a horse.

Remember that you will cope with whatever challenges lie ahead.
Unpleasant experiences will not last (the same goes for pleasant ones).
Get as much advice as you can about surgery and breast reconstruction, including complications.
Remind yourself that you are a good person, don’t be so hard on yourself!
You don’t always need to say ‘I am fine’. It’s okay to acknowledge what you are going through.
Accept that you are fragile but that in your vulnerability lies strength.
Don’t confuse acceptance with giving in or giving up.
There is always hope, it shines like candle-light in the darkness.
Show more vulnerability, ask for more help.
Look out for the little things, a smile, a hug or a kind word.
Cherish each precious day, even those that don’t go well.
Try and experience pleasure from the smaller things in life, the moments that go quickly but whose impact lasts a long time.
Make space for quiet, for nature, for the oceans.
Look up at the stars. Dream.

We learned that being able to ‘re-frame’ our vision due to a life threatening diagnosis is one of the most challenging, yet constructive, features of learning and adjusting through trauma. Naz told us that re-framing helps us to grow, take perspective, and to correct ourselves when we lapse into self-criticism - feeling negative about ourselves and being critical can be one of the dominant features we live with because we want to be a better ‘us’ and better our lives.

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