By Jeff Steedman My view through the prism of prostate cancer.
Achieving the Outcome you Want
To Survive or thrive, it’s my choice!
It is interesting to note the different outcomes which occur when using and believing these words and the corresponding belief systems underlying them. I responded to another post recently with a similar theme and my own experience with prostate cancer has me thinking about this again.
Some background. In past years I experienced skin cancer and recovered from it, leading a healthy, happy, and enjoyable life ever since. Six years ago I had a total thyroidectomy because of thyroid cancer and have led a healthy, happy, and enjoyable life ever since. I am a thriver and I believe that this road is open to all of us if we allow ourselves to take it.
In my counselling work, I come across people who have taken another path, they see themselves as victims who have managed to survive and lead their lives accordingly. It seems that many of those who take this path do so with fear, anger, anxiety, grim determination, and watchfulness which gets in the way of them leading a full and joyous life.
These are the survivors, hanging on grimly to their lives and not experiencing all that life has to offer. I don’t judge this, but I do recognise that it comes from a relief that they somehow survived, which can then become a self-limiting picture of themselves. Survivors often become watchful and even hyper-vigilant to potential threats.
This isn’t an issue if you can still live a joyful, need-satisfying life. But when your picture of yourself as a survivor who is potentially still under threat becomes too strong, it can become a limiting belief. You can spiral into depressing, anxiousing, or simply unhappiness as you restrict your connection with those around you and all that life has to offer.
The alternative is to be a thriver. When you’re a thriver you accept whatever has happened to you in the past. Your focus is on what you can control now, your own behaviour, and connecting with the people and things that can help you meet your needs into the future.
As a thriver, you look to what you can do, rather than what you can’t. You focus on meeting your needs in connecting ways rather than worrying about what might happen and not engaging in needs satisfying behaviour. Of course, you would not have had the illness, accident, or adverse event happen to you, but given it did, become determined to live the best life that you can from now on.
Thrivers do Better
As a thriver you’ll do much better for many reasons. You’ll be less anxious and have fewer downtimes. When you experience downtimes, they don’t last long, because you can move quickly to shift your thinking and action, to choose and engage in behaviours that better meet your needs.
When you engage in needs satisfying behaviour you impact your immune system in a positive way and experience better healing and health outcomes. Emotionally your outlook is brighter and more open to possibility and connection.
“Fantastic! How About You?”
When people ask me how I am, I answer “fantastic…. how about you?” That is still my answer now.
No, I am not putting on a brave face. I know that there are risks, dangers, and challenges ahead. I also know I will have short periods of time when I feel less than great, but I choose not to get lost in those miserable thoughts and feelings.
It is my choice to see life as a fun and enjoyable journey with lots of possibilities and to focus on what I have and what I can do rather than what I can’t. Fear and misery have no place and no space here. So yes I am feeling fantastic and all of my thoughts are going into how I can take charge of my recovery after my total prostatectomy surgery on Monday.
In the coming days, weeks, months and years, how fantastic I feel will be totally up to me!
Learn how to be a Thriver