Psyching Ourselves Out

In Breast Cancer, Creating Happiness, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

Psyching FeatureEarlier today I was reading the story about who was selected to represent the United States on the Women’s Figure Skating team at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia next month.  I was intrigued by the selection of one member who has been a real standout in past events but completely fell apart at the most recent competition.  At the US Championships last night, she fell twice and didn’t land two of her triple jumps cleanly.  But, despite the poor showing and not being in the top 3 at the end of competition, she was still selected to be one of the three members of the team.  She knows how fortunate she is to have been selected and is so grateful that her one poor performance did not carry more weight than all of her success over the last four years.

you can choose to become the one person who will not be controlled by whatever the treatment that you are being given and do whatever is necessary to have a better outcome than you could ever have imagined.  It is, now and always, up to you.

This story came on the heels of another that I read late last evening about a woman who was celebrating the completion of her 12th and final Taxol (chemotherapy) treatment.  She talked about how she approached the experience and what a very limited amount of side effects that she experienced.  This woman is not done with treatment as she faces another round of treatment with a different chemo drug and she is doing so with the same upbeat approach that she used for her initial treatment.  My initial thoughts were that she was so fortunate that she had such an outcome considering all of the poison that she had in her body.  Her outcome appeared to be a medical miracle in comparison to all of the other stories that have been shared.  But upon a closer look, I had to recognize that her results were a mental triumph that created a physical one.

Ah, the power of the mind!  It is always easier to give way to fear and self-doubt when facing any situation.  When you find yourself on what may be the biggest stage of your life at this very moment, it is easy to focus on all of the things that could go wrong and all of the bad outcomes that may happen as a result.  It is easy to believe all of the negative comments that may have been sent your way in the past.  It is easy to recall all of the stories that you have read about others whose outcomes were not what you are hoping for yourself.  And as all of these negatives start to flood your mind, it is easy to start on that slippery slope that will not produce the results that you want.  This is the normal place to go.  This is the easy place to go.  And, if you are like most of us, it is a comfortable place to go because if is familiar.

But, what if, just for this one time, you choose to focus on all of the positives.  You have overcome so much to get where you are so what is one more thing to overcome?  You have had a lifetime of practicing and performing on so many stages and this is only one more.  No matter what your performance may be, you have been practicing and you know your material.  You know what is expected of you.  You know the outcome that you want.  You know that you have successfully accomplished whatever you truly wanted in the past and this is no different.  It is just a matter of focusing – focusing on your audience and giving them your best.  You can see the finish line or successful completion of this endeavor and you can see that it has been a success.  Under these circumstances, you can’t have anything but a successful outcome.

If you are facing a treatment or surgery, etc., you know that you can have a successful outcome.  You are in the hands of professionals who are completely trained to treat you.  You just have to allow them to do their work with the knowledge in mind that it is just a matter of time for this current treatment to be completed and then you get to rest and recover.  It doesn’t matter what the experiences were of anyone else who has had the same treatment because they aren’t you.  Each person is totally different from everyone else.

You can control your outcome by knowing that there are certain amounts of pain associated with anything of this nature but that you don’t have to focus on the pain.  You can focus your thoughts on peaceful places or on thoughts of those that you love or on what it is that you are going to do as soon as you are no longer tethered to a chemo infusion or have successfully shaken off the immediate effects of anesthesia.  You can choose to think about what next step you need to take in order to move forward in this moment and in the knowing that now you know what to expect from this treatment.  But, most of all, you can choose to become the one person who will not be controlled by whatever the treatment that you are being given and do whatever is necessary to have a better outcome than you could ever have imagined.  It is, now and always, up to you.