Since June is National Cancer Survivor Month, we want to remind you to celebrate where you are in your journey by cultivating your relationship with yourself. At For the Girls, we take every opportunity to encourage our community to prioritize relationships, because strong relationships are essential for wellbeing. And, your relationship to yourself is no different. Here are a few suggestions for how to cultivate your relationship with you:
Whether or not you realize it, there are many voices inside each of us, some negative and some positive. We don’t always realize that some of these “voices” are the product of trauma or unhelpful past experiences. It can be powerful to redirect these things and challenge them, just as you would deal with conflict within any other relationship. So, be in dialogue with yourself.
Keep a journal if that’s helpful, but the most important thing is to show up for yourself. If you’re brave enough to help a friend who is struggling with negative thoughts, you can be brave enough to help yourself, too. You’re worth it!
Half of conversing is listening, so give yourself space and time to wait for a response after you’ve asked a good question. Some people find meditation very effective in learning to listen to their bodies, while others need movement to access that part of themselves. People who have weathered difficult diagnoses, like breast cancer, may have a complicated relationship with their bodies, but the truth is, all of us struggle and need reminders to be present. Our awareness only grows from practicing to be aware.
So practice, realizing no matter what your body has been through, you can trust the process of listening because you deserve to be listened to.
According to the American Cancer Society, a cancer survivor is “anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer no matter where they are in the course of their disease.”
While the word survivor often suggests completion, it is important to validate the ongoing and far-reaching implications of having cancer. Moving through any stage of cancer–whether active, remitted, or totally eradicated–is very significant and something that garners both celebration and grief.
There are obvious ways we grieve and celebrate with others, but not so much by ourselves. Having the conversation through journaling and listening to yourself through meditation or movement certainly can be a very important part of processing grief and marking celebration.
However, there may be even more active ways for you to move through and honor these big changes in your life. Consider channeling your grief into something creative, like photography, painting or birdwatching. And, please take every, and any opportunity to celebrate YOU with your favorite meal, a massage, or anything that brings you levity and delight.
Of course, a good relationship to yourself is supported, and most certainly enhanced, by good relationships with others. But, it’s important to remember that you, and your loved ones, are so much more than any disease could ever claim. Profoundly interesting and nuanced, you have so much to learn about yourself, so feel encouraged to never stop pursuing you!
And, if you’re looking for a way to celebrate yourself or a loved one during National Cancer Survivor Month, For the Girls pink windchimes can be very meaningful to give and receive. We call them “victory bells” for a reason!