Certainly at this time of your life HOPE is an important word. Traditional Christian and Jewish stories speak of HOPE ranging from the miraculous conception of the Christ child to the Jewish Hanukkah story of the one day supply of holy oil miraculously turning into the necessary eight day supply needed. Some schools of Buddhism caution about too much HOPE, believing that HOPE sets up expectations. That seems to be the case when people use HOPE in a passive way. One cannot just HOPE that things change. HOPE requires you align yourself with positive action. Be the captain of your ship and do not sit by idly, HOPING things will change. HOPE is needed especially when the chips are down, and it feels like every resource has been explored.
Death is not the enemy. We all will die. HOPE can assist us to execute what choices we have about dying. One gift in breast cancer is that you do not die suddenly. You get a chance to say good-bye and let people know how meaningful they have been in your life. It is a fine line walking the balance of HOPE and despair. Despair is never helpful or useful and HOPE helps you stay away from the brink of despair when life is looking fairly bleak. Taking positive action one step at a time helps build HOPE from the inside out. HOPE activates action and action activates HOPE. You have nothing to lose by investing in HOPE. Even if things don’t work out the way you want them to, HOPE helps your mood and keeps despair at bay. HOPE can be practiced and increased when you build positive resources around you.
HOPE is part of feeling empowered. Acting on that empowerment allows you to execute the choices that you have. It is very important you recognize that you do have choices in your treatment options and when you cultivate HOPE in your daily life, then you make decisions from a position of HOPE rather than despair. In the despairing moments it is important to use HOPE to just pass through the despair and move into gratitude and action about the options that you do have.
Reading other people’s stories that are going through what you are going through can fertilize HOPE. Watching biographical movies that tell stories of struggle and success can increase your HOPE thermometer. Going for a walk in nature can uplift your mood and help return HOPE.
HOPE is a tool of positive self-care and I wish you well on your journey with HOPE by your side.
Dr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.