Sometimes I wonder if we try way too hard to turn everything that happens to us into something positive. Maybe it’s human nature to look for the silver linings in everything that happens, including the really crappy stuff. Maybe it’s how we explain why bad things happen. There has to be a reason for the chaos or the pain doesn’t there? It’s the same with cancer. There has to be a reason that cancer picked you and not the rotten-no-good person who lives down the street. That’s sarcasm. I wouldn’t really wish cancer on anyone, not even my worst enemy. If I had one.
We humans like to analyze the whys and the how comes of whatever it might be that’s going on in our lives or in the lives of those we care about. There are always answers; there are always reasons for why bad things happen are there not?
Or are there?
Often times we hear things like everything happens for a reason, or you’re never given more than you can handle, or you were chosen for this because you’re strong enough to handle it and so on.
I think such statements are total BS. Sometimes there are no reasons. Sometimes we are given way more than we can handle (but then somehow we do) and more often than not, being strong has nothing to do with any of it. Sometimes things just happen. Sometimes these things are good and sometimes they are not.
And when the bad things do happen, putting a positive spin on the experience still doesn’t make it a good experience. Sure, it’s fine to be positive if that’s how you’re feeling, but this doesn’t mean it’s bad to feel negative. Both are valid human feelings and reactions. You can’t just ignore, or worse, try to stomp out negative thoughts and feelings when they pop up. It isn’t even healthy to try to do so.
So why does it so often seem like there’s only one way to do cancer, especially breast cancer, the just stay positive way?
Do we always have to try to stay positive and attempt to turn bad experiences inside out, or in other words, turn them into something positive? (I’m just asking…)
Trying to turn cancer (or any bad experience) into a positive thing can be daunting, exhausting and an unnecessary extra burden for even the most noble of cancer patients. It might even be a waste of valuable time and energy.
And just for the record, I an not a negative person. Anyone who knows me would probably agree. I consider myself to be a realist. And in the reality I live in, cancer sucks.
It sometimes seems that if we aren’t walking around feeling positive all the time and talking about all the things cancer has ‘taught’ us, we are being negative. I don’t accept that. I hate cancer and I refuse to pretty it up and turn it into something it’s not.
Maybe we should back off from telling cancer patients to just stay positive. Maybe we should back off from trying to turn every bad thing that happens into something positive. Maybe there aren’t necessarily any grand epiphanies after cancer knocks on your door. Maybe it doesn’t make you a better person. And even if it that were true, why give cancer any credit? The person did all the work.
We learn and also hopefully grow from all of our experiences. Each of us is a conglomerate of the good and the bad stuff that has happened to us. If we’re lucky, we have many more of the good kind.
But maybe we don’t need to try so hard to put a positive spin on every single bad experience.
Maybe some bad experiences are just that, bad experiences.
And cancer is one of them.
Do you, or did you, ever feel pressured to ‘just stay positive’?
If yes, how does/did this make you feel? Better, worse, indifferent, angry, frustrated, or how exactly?
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