AUTHOR’S NOTE: Feeling our emotions is key to good health, as explained in this following excerpt from my recently released book, Cancer as a Love Story: Developing the Mindset for Living. An Excerpt from Part One: Raw Beginnings — Chapter: Expressing “the Bitch” in Me.
Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full. —Carl Jung
During my first MRI to get a clearer image of my cancerous lump prior to surgery, I asked the nurse, who was a 14-year-cancer survivor, if cancer had changed her life in any way.
She responded that yes it had in two significant ways for the better. First, she slowed down and became much clearer about her priorities. Second, she learned to speak her mind immediately if something upset her, and she no longer holds onto grudges.
Many people told me upon hearing of my breast cancer that the diagnosis was a message to slow down. Pacing myself is not as easy as a high-energy person who falls under the Leo astrological sign.
I have since learned to take breaks during the day, preferably half-hour stretches, to nurture myself with quiet, rest, and the simple wonders of being. Now much more attuned to the needs of my body, mind, and soul, I also consciously attempt to walk and talk slower. In the past, my speech has been rapid, especially when I got excited or passionate about a topic.
The more significant change is speaking my mind as events occur, not months or years later. One day, a male friend asked if there was anything he could do to help. I said, “Sure, can you help pick up my new grill and deliver it in your van to my house since it won’t fit in my car?” His response was, “I’m sure your son can help you handle that.”
Stunned, I replied, “You offered help, but just declined my request.” I turned and walked away.
Speaking my mind has felt “bitchy” because I used to relish being “good” and felt appreciated for being “nice.” I enjoy my sweet and tender sides, which seem to shine best during vulnerable moments.
Confronting mortality head-on made me more aware that living authentically adds value to every moment.
I understand now what that MRI nurse meant when she said she no longer holds things in. Yet, I believe we shouldn’t hold onto grievances once they have been expressed, either.
The next time I met my male friend while walking on the beach, I was friendly. His deference to help with the grill was an isolated incident. I let it go and was glad I had voiced my disappointment in the moment.
The “bitch” has appeared many times since, when someone does not follow through on a promise, lies about a fact or circumstance, refuses to hear or see me in their presence, projects their own wounds onto me, or consistently shows up late or disrespects me in other ways.
Beyond assertiveness, I see this more vocal part of me as a protector of my health.
I am no longer willing to silence her to please another or make someone look or feel good when they have misjudged, wronged or been inconsiderate of me.
Yet, I take another step after articulating my feelings. I try “to let it go, and let it flow” by forgiving and blessing the person who has upset me, so the angst does not remain in my body.
- Self-love means being authentic and expressing our true feelings appropriately.
- Integrating our innate wholeness extends beyond being “good.” We all have light and dark sides, and many emotions. It is okay to own all of them.
My photographer friend Sharon Spector captured the above image of the cactus flowers in Scottsdale, Arizona. As she so eloquently says: “Beauty is definitely a mood enhancer, expanding our capacity to live and love.” To learn more about Sharon’s work, email: email@example.com.
To order a signed copy, or quantity purchases of my book, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.