Choosing to live your best life isn’t about having a high-power job, making a lot of money, acquiring all the “things” and “stuff”, looking good on social media, being thin, making good food choices, or exercising 3-5 days per week. It’s about choosing to live a life that is intentional and authentic.
No matter where you are in your cancer journey—recently diagnosed, undergoing treatment, or navigating your new normal as a survivor—figuring out how to live your best life is hard. How do you live an authentic life when everything you thought you knew has been turned upside down?
Life coach and best-selling author, Christine Hassler, encourages us to think about the things we absolutely love to do and who we are when we do them. Do you love to dance? Sing? Write? Play sports? Cook? Read? Knit?
You may be thinking, “Because of cancer, I can’t do the things I absolutely loved to do anymore.” It’s not fair. Nothing about cancer is fair. So, take the time and space you need to grieve for the parts of your life you’ve lost. When you are ready, revisit Ms. Hassler’s self-discovery exercise and take a moment to reflect.
The operative part of this exercise isn’t really thinking about the things we do. It’s about embracing who we are when we do them. So, whether or not you can still do that thing that speaks to your soul, consider what personal qualities came to the surface when you could. Those qualities are the essence of who you are; it’s what defines you—not cancer.
So what now? You’ve identified the personal qualities that define you, but you are still sad/hurt/angry that you can’t do the things you did before cancer. Health coach advice… since a cancer diagnosis turned your world upside down, let’s turn this exercise upside down. Think about the personal qualities you absolutely love. Then consider how those qualities can inform what you choose to do, instead of vice versa.
At Cancer Hope Network, we are so fortunate that the personal qualities of 400+ cancer survivors led them to become one-on-one peer Support Volunteers for our organization. Before cancer, there was a myriad of other things these 400+ people did that led them to discover “giving and supporting” were personal qualities that defined them. After cancer, they might not be able to do the thing that brought those “giving and supportive” personal qualities to the surface, but they did find a way to live authentic and intentional lives by giving their time to support others facing a cancer journey.
Thanks to our Support Volunteers, Cancer Hope Network is able to match cancer patients, caregivers and their loved ones with someone whose experience closely mirrors their own. If you would like to request a match, or you are interested in becoming a Cancer Hope Network Support Volunteer, please visit us online at www.cancerhopenetwork.org or call our toll-free number at 877-HOPENET.
Beth Blakey is the Associate Director of Development for Cancer Hope Network. She has 20 years of experience as a professional fundraiser and corporate communications consultant. She is also a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, fitness enthusiast, writer, and avid reader. Beth looks forward to sharing her passion for all things wellness-related with the Cancer Hope Network community.