The other day I read a piece by fellow blogger, Lori Marx-Rubiner called, “When a Patient Chooses a Different Path.” It’s an excellent piece of writing and I recommend that you read it if you haven’t. By the way, Lori also happens to be the new president of METAvivor Research and Support, an organization I whole-heartedly support. Yay, Lori! And Congrats too!
Lori’s article got me thinking about how we so often tangle up opinions with judgments.
Undoubtedly, judgment often happens because we feel strongly about our opinions and it becomes hard for us to even entertain another point of view, especially if it’s very different from our own.
When you live in Cancer-land as a new resident or as a more tenured citizen like me, you see examples of this play out all the time. One such example is the concept of “cancer is a gift”. Umm… no. It is not, not NOT!
Sense my passionate opinion there?
And on an interesting side note, the first time I ever had interaction with Lori online was when she commented on that particular gift post. Even back then, she was a whole lot more open-minded about this particular cancer concept than I was or ever will be. I will never be calling cancer a gift. Not gonna happen.
As Lori so eloquently gave an example of in her article, support groups are places where opinions sometimes get snarled up with non-intentional (giving the benefit of a doubt here) judgment. Who hasn’t attended a support group seeking well, support, and instead heard someone offer advice or an opinion that is heavily laden with judgment, unintentional or otherwise?
The purpose of support of any kind is to support, not judge, so why is it often so hard to refrain from the latter?
And I would venture to say a whole lot of judging goes on not only when we choose different treatment paths, but also when we choose different survivorship paths.
The most simplistic illustration of the latter in Breast Cancer-land might be the pink ribbon, or even the color pink itself.
Should one don a pink ribbon or should one shun the dang ribbon altogether? Is it still okay to like pink? (yes!) Sometimes it seems like we must pick a side. Sad really, because it’s never been about pink or pink ribbons.
No matter how strongly we feel about our opinions and beliefs; they are still exactly that, opinions and beliefs.
Opinions are generally fine and mostly welcomed. Judgment, not so much. Judgment tends to shut doors. Judgment tends to stall communication or even halt it altogether.
When others disagree with us on how to “do cancer” or survivorship, it doesn’t necessarily make them wrong. Of course, it doesn’t make them right either. As a blogger, I try to keep this in mind, but I’m sure I’ve failed more than a few times. Though it’s never my intention, I’m sure I’ve sounded judgmental from time to time.
Bloggers are by nature an opinionated lot. I mean why else would most of us be blogging and/or reading/commenting on blogs, right? We are bloggers; we aren’t journalists. We are opinion sharers though most, myself included, do attempt to accurately report the facts that we tuck in with our opinions.
Bloggers and readers of blogs like sharing. A lot. We like the interaction. Heck, we even like the lively debates that sometimes get going.
Passionate opinions light fires, stir things up, start conversations and hopefully help to get things done.
Free speech is a wonderful thing. Shared opinions are wonderful as well.
However, when it comes to cancer treatment and/or survivorship paths, perhaps we could all be a little less judgmental.
Have you ever felt others were judging your cancer treatment decisions?
Have you ever felt as if your survivorship path was being judged?