well-being in the face of hard times

live like someone left the gate openHow do you hang onto your well-being when life hands out hard stuff?

Since my cancer diagnosis, I have become keenly aware of how much my attitude shapes my life.  You don’t have to have cancer to know this. There are plenty of life challenges to go around.  No matter what difficulty comes your way, it’s attitude that determine how well you manage and retain your well-being.

It’s not what you are handed, it’s how you handle it.

Perspective is how we view life and interpret experiences. Perspective is influenced by culture, age, genetics, social norms gender, and environment…many other factors. We tend to think of it as the cup half empty, half full concept.

I appreciate what I learned about perspective from an article on taoism.net. Someone might delight in finding the cup half-full.  That’s the universal sign of an optimist.  However, here is what I hadn’t considered. It is possible that someone could find meaning in a half-empty cup.  Rather than assuming they are pessimistic, it’s possible they prefer to find a cup that needs to be filled. That’s fulfilling to them.  It’s all a matter of perspective.

Our attitudes are how we respond to life’s perceptions. We learn attitudes from people in our lives, and develop them from our life experiences. Our attitudes can be positive, negative, rational, unreasonable, conscious, or unknown.  Attitudes influence the beliefs we hold, the assumptions we make, and the thoughts we form.

In other words, attitude is how we create our own reality.

Ok, so you don’t need cancer to become consciously aware of our attitudes. But, for me, living with cancer was when my attitude became so damn obvious.

Here’s the thing… “health” is not only about the presence or absence of disease.  It is also about our well-being.  I discovered that true well-being is all wrapped up in my attitude.

I think of my true well-being as something cancer can’t take from me.  Cancer cannot take away my thoughts, beliefs, or motivation for life.

My attitudes have shaped how I respond to the world. When my attitudes are in alignment with my values, I have my well-being. Life is good…cancer or no cancer.

Recently, I have thought about what attitudes bring to my well-being.  I want to share a few:

Life is about people and what we do together…the exceptional moments along with the ordinary. It’s the sharing of a meal and simple conversation.  It’s being vulnerable in laughter and as well as our tears.  It’s about delighting in each other’s creations.  It’s discovering and observing the world together.

Nurturing relationships is a blessing.  We nurture when we engage in our friend’s lives, show up to support a neighbor, find a way to contribute to community.  Nurturing relationships makes our bonds strong, even in small ways. Relationships are how we go on when the going gets tough.

We can break free of the thoughts and beliefs that hold us back.  This is the gift of conscious living. We become aware of which thoughts we breathe life into and which we let go. We can break down beliefs that don’t serve us.  We make choices and decisions based on our values.  When we live with awareness aligned with our values, we experience well-being, no matter what life is handing out.

It all comes down to this. I am living like someone left the gate open!

How about you?


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