One of the most important pieces of my healing puzzle has been, and continues to be, the psychological and emotional. No matter how healthy I eat, or how much I exercise, if I do not address the layers underneath, nothing will truly change.
I believe for true healing to occur we must peel away the layers, examine our behavior and thought patterns, and discover who we are at our core. Otherwise, the same obstacles and negative patterns will continue to repeat themselves – over & over again – and keep us stuck. Hold us back from being the amazing beings we were brought here to be. Whether we’re dealing with illness, addiction, weight issues, excessive spending, relationship problems, promiscuity, or whatever… Until we look at why we do what we do and open ourselves up to new possibilities we’ll just keep going round in circles. Nothing will ever change.
There is much written about the “Type C cancer personality” – the characteristics common to those of us who tend to get cancer (as well as auto-immune diseases). We are those “nice” people… Those unassertive, hard working, independent, perfectionists… Who seem calm & rational and rarely flustered… The dutiful and dependable ones who constantly do for others and have difficulty saying no or asking for help… Unable to express anger or recognize the primacy of their own needs… Trying to keep it all under control…
I was all of these things. And for the longest time this worked for me. People liked me. I liked myself. I thought I had it all under control. I didn’t need anyone. I could do it all by myself. No problems here.
Then a series of horribly difficult circumstances chipped away at my defenses and coping patterns and exposed the truth. Living that way was no longer going to work.
I’ve done a lot of peeling and a lot of changing since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. I believe my process was three-fold…
First was realizing I didn’t have all the answers. That I had stuff I needed to work on. That my life wasn’t as perfect as I thought it was…
Second was embarking on my quest to understand how I got to be the person I am today… Finding a good therapist… Reading some good books (The Type C Connection as well as Drama of the Gifted Child)… Being willing to hear things I didn’t want to hear… And understanding how my patterns began and why they continued.
Third was putting it all into practice… Recognizing the opportunity to change my thoughts and behaviors in the moment and making a different choice instead – Which ain’t easy, let me tell you…
But I feel like I’ve come a long way since being diagnosed.
Today, I recognize the inter-generational patterns of self-defeating behaviour that have been passed down to me and that I do not want to pass down to my own daughter… The people pleasing… The self-depreciation… The pushing down of my feelings.
I choose to let go of trying to control things. Life is so much easier when I just surrender and go with the flow… Every time I feel my mind going to that obsessive planning and questioning state I stop myself. I come back to the present moment and remember this moment is all I have… Why waste time fretting over something that may never happen or things from the past that I cannot change.
The new me, tells people what I need and asks for help instead of expecting them to read my mind and getting upset and resentful when they can’t… I am letting go of my attachment to being the “strong one”… I am letting my house be messy… And asking hubby to deal with Miss M’s tantrum instead of just glaring at him while I do it.
I no longer care as much about what other people think… Fuck ’em… I am who I am.
I am allowing my emotions to arise and express themselves. Figuring out healthy ways to express anger… Crying when I need to cry… Enjoying the beauty in the little moments.
Although the road was bumpy, I am happy that I have arrived in this new place. And I continue to embrace new opportunities for growth every chance I get.
I encourage everyone to take a look inside… See what is not working in your life… And open yourself up to the possibility of change. You just might like where it takes you.