Are your beliefs helping you to recover?
What Is a Belief?
A belief is something we consider to be a fact. It is anything that we assume to be true. We use our beliefs to understand and navigate this world. We also use our beliefs to keep us safe. That is why we generally try to preserve our beliefs after they are formed and guard them carefully.
Our beliefs and values can shape the way we see the world. It is said we don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.
‘Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right’ Henry Ford
That quote is often used to say if you get fixed in a mindset that thinks that something isn't possible, then it will never be possible for you. And that kind of makes sense, doesn't it?
How Beliefs Are Formed
Beliefs are generally formed in two ways: by our experiences, inferences and deductions, or by accepting what others tell us to be true. Most of our core beliefs are formed when we are children.
When we are born, we enter this world with a clean slate and without preconceived beliefs. We are impressionable and look for meaning in almost everything because we are naturally inquisitive.
Many people have beliefs that were passed down to them from their parents, or their grandparents or family or teachers or somebody in your church, your elders, people that you respected. They weren't saying these things to be cruel to you. They were trying to pass on their wisdom, what they've learned of life.
. As a child I heard that ‘the world is a dangerous place’, ‘people will let you down and are not to be trusted’.
Just as your body tries to keep you safe, the people that were looking after you probably were doing this with all good intentions.
Do you need to believe you will recover from cancer?
I work a lot as a cancer coach helping people after treatment ends. And a lot of what I help them with is believing that they can change, they can change their mindset, they can change their diet, or their lifestyle, whatever it is that they need to change in their life. Before we go to the practical things of what needs to change, we have to step right back and think about what you believe. Because before you can make any change, you need to start by believing that change is possible. And it's possible for you.
Are your beliefs helpful?
I am in some cancer support groups online, not just my Confidence after Cancer group that I run, but other groups as well. I've seen some statements this week, that really made me a bit sad.
Things like ‘I can't have fun anymore. I am grumpy, fat and tired, and there's nothing I can do’.
Another one was ‘I am nothing like the old me. And she's never coming back'. Somebody else said 'cancer takes everything away from us. I have no interest in anything. And I can't find any joy in anything any more, I don't think I ever will’.
And a similar one, ‘I can't see the old me ever coming back, she's gone forever’.
There's no judgement from me here. I'm just incredibly sad that these cancer survivors feel like this, I can understand why, at the end of my treatment, I was exhausted physically, mentally, emotionally, financially devastated. And for a long time, I felt like this, like I had been hit like a steam train. I was left battered and scarred and going through early menopause - yes cancer the gift that keeps on giving.
And so, I understand those feelings I really do, I've been through them. And I've worked really hard to come out of the other side of that. And that's why I do the work that I do now, because I know how tough it is. I know how lonely it can be. And I know how frustrating it can be when you just can't really seem to move forward.
My own personal story is that I had an overwhelming desire to get better. And at first, it was very much driven by my children and my husband, Paul, they gave me the best reasons ever to regain my strength. I wasn't so much scared of dying, as so much as I couldn't bear the thought of leaving them and leaving them bereaved and grieving for me. I very much started coming from the point of view of what was best for them, I had to get better for them. But as I worked on my mental and my physical health, I realized that I deserved love, compassion, and respect just as much as they did.
Do you believe you deserve to get better?
I read a lot, and but I learned so much from Louise Hay. I've written about her before, how much she taught me about learning to love yourself. And I realised that for much of my life, I didn't even think about myself very much, and didn't even like myself very much. I found it really difficult to show myself any self-compassion or any self-care, or any reason to ever put myself first I just couldn't do it. It didn't seem right. It seems selfish. Not that what I thought a good mother, or a good wife, a good daughter, or a good employee would do. I always tried to put other people first. So, I had a lot of work to do on changing my beliefs. And I studied to be a coach so that I can help others to do the same. And now it is my privilege to help others to move forward and get their confidence back after cancer treatment ends. But as I said before we start with the practical What do you need to do in your life? What do you need to change? Is it diet is it lifestyle, there's a whole raft of things that may or may not be appropriate for you. And coaching is very much led by the person that I'm working with. I don't just dish out a menu of this is the things that you need to do. There are no rules. It's very much listening to the person that I'm working with. Understanding where they're at, meeting them wherever they're starting from, but always it starts with a belief and that belief is that change is possible.
Developing a growth mindset – to change your beliefs.
In coaching terms, sometimes we call that a growth mindset. You know, I want to work with people who believe that growth is possible personal development is possible for them. But I also need to work with people that believe that they deserve to be happy and healthy, and that the new you can enjoy life just as much as the old you. And also, that you can choose how your story ends, you know, none of us know what's around the corner. I can't guarantee anybody good health. But what I can be sure of is there's lots of tips and tools and techniques that you can use to make the most of every day. And without that belief, or even hope that these possible, change will never happen. I'm not here to tell you that cancer is a gift, because it really isn't.
But what you can take from what you have been through, your survival, is a second chance at life. None of us can go back and change the past, but we can all change what we do today. And we can all put things in place that make sure our future self, wherever we are in six months’ time, a year, maybe hopefully longer, we can make changes that our future self will thank us for.
That person will thank you for the choices that you make today. If you change in your diet, if you change in your lifestyle, if you're doing a little bit of exercise every day, your future self in 12 months’ time will will thank you for that because you will be in a very different place than if you hadn't made those changes.
Beliefs about abundance
I certainly heard when I was growing up ‘money doesn't grow on trees’ ‘It's greedy to want to be rich. Having the life of your dreams is not realistic’. I was quite often given examples of how rich people were bad people, and who wants to be a bad person? So there was always that connotation that if you were wealthy, you're never really going to be a good person. So, I was told that having the life of your dreams is not realistic. But as I've grown older, I am now very happy to be a dreamer. And it's something I used to get told off for when I was a child, for being a daydreamer. But now I set goals and ambitions that my family would have considered unrealistic when I was growing up. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a journalist. And I was told to ‘get real’ and pick something more suited to ‘the likes of us’. I grew up in a working-class family and money was always scarce. And I was told to set my sights lower.
Okay, and again, that can sometimes be done from a place of love. It can be done from a place of ‘don't dream too big. Don't set your sights too high, because you'll only setting yourself up for a fall’.
I’ve decided to believe in me – and so can you.
But is that really true? Because after a lifetime of learning, particularly in personal development and in health care, and mental health. I know how my own podcast, and a blog you are reading it. I have a website; I can publish articles whenever I would like. I am a journalist now. And anyone can do that, if they want to. I want to be out there sharing what I've learned with people because I know that it's going to help people. It's not to tell people how great I am, it’s to share all tools, techniques and things I've learned. Sometimes they've been really hard lessons. But I'm quite happy to share that with people.
The point I want to make is that other people's limitations and their view of the world do not have to be your view. You can choose to have a different view and a new belief. So how would it be if you decided to make the next chapter of your life even better than it was before? How would it feel to believe that that is possible? Because if you're ready to embrace the next stage of your life and finally become happy and healthy, I'm here for you. That's what Confidence after Cancer is all about.
Reach out to me if there is anything at all that I can help you with, you know where I am. I’d love to hear from you. Have a brilliant week. Thank you so much for reading Stay safe, stay sane.
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