When you are hit with a severe illness it feels as if life as you know it has changed forever. Which is not entirely wrong. Life changes when you face such a challenging situation as cancer. It is such a difficult journey that you won’t be the same when you come out the other side. However change always offers us the chance to come out the other side better rather than bitter. It offers us the chance to re-look ourselves and our lives, and re-invent something better for ourselves. Unless your life was 100% perfect in all aspects (relationships, career, social, wellbeing, life balance, finances, etc.), a change, especially a challenging change, means we get the opportunity to re-create something better for ourselves. Yes, cancer is awful. No one would wish it upon anyone. But you don’t have to come out of this as “less than”. You can make the choice to go forward with a better life than you have ever had before.
A diagnosis of cancer is a traumatic shock. It throws life upside down. Nothing is going to make this easy although it is doable. However when life is turned upside down, it shakes us out of the status quo. We get the chance to think about how we are living our lives, and we get the chance to change to something better. Life as it was is gone. Life as it will be in the future can still be great. When situations throw our lives upside down it is any opportunity to re-look our lives. An opportunity to re-look what we have been doing and why? While you may feel like you are being dragged downwards, it is possible to look forward with hope to something better.
Having hope will help you on your journey to wellness. And one of the ways to have hope is to think and plan a new and better life for yourself going forward. Human beings have creative potential. We don’t have to stay where we are and accept what is. We can define a vision, a new vision, for our lives and work towards making that a reality. Your journey is likely to be a rollercoaster ride. Some days will be better than expected. Some will be as expected. And some will contain distressing news. You won’t feel like you are in control a lot of the time. What you can be in control of is planning how you are going to live a more fulfilled life going forward.
In life coaching we often use what we call the “Life Wheel”. The life wheel is a tool that pinpoints different areas of life. Below is one I use. Look at each of the different areas of life: Mental Wellbeing; Finances, Career, Rest and Recreation; Physical Health, Family, Social and Partner. Think about each of these life areas.
Then I want you to rate how happy you are in each area on a scale of 0 – 10 where 0 means that area of your life is beyond awful, and 10 means you couldn’t imagine anything better. (Most people don’t have a 10 because almost all of us can think of how an area in our life could be better.) Go through each area and rate it according to how you feel about it at this time.
- Are your relationships as fulfilling as you would like them to be?
- Do your like your job?
- Do you like the people you work with?
- Are your friends good for you?
- Do you need some more good friendships?
- Is your social life more of a chore for you than a chance for you to relax and have fun?
A 0 score is a mark in the middle of the circle. A 10 means a mark on the circumference of the circle. A 5 rating would be a mark half way down the spoke of the wheel. If you want to, once you have completed each life area you can link the marks to see which areas of your life are better than others and what your particular circle looks like.
After you have rated each area take a look at your wheel. This is your life as it currently is. And it is not your life as it has to be in the future. You can most definitely do something to change it and move your life in the direction you want it to be.
Now start to think about what a “10 out of 10” in each area would be like. Think about what you would like. Get rid of all the thoughts and beliefs along the lines of, “I can’t have that”, “I don’t deserve that”, “this is not for people like me”, “I must accept what I have”, “I am too old”, etc. Define for yourself some goals in each area of your life that would move you towards your 10 out of 10 life and take some steps each week in the direction of your goals. Apart from giving you hope of a better future, this also helps you feel in control of some aspects of your life, when you are probably feeling totally out of control.
If you commit to taking just 5 steps a week towards your 10 out of 10 life, within a year you will have achieved so much. And if you don’t feel like doing it, remember that you are worth the best in life. And you definitely deserve the best.