What You Believe Can Help You Overcome Disease
In 2016, I was told that I only had six months to live. Doctors had just removed 1.6 liters of fluid from my right lung, and they found tumors that had metastasized on my chest, pelvis, and abdomen. Radiation and chemotherapy weren’t options because the cancer had already spread. Its next target, they told me, would be my brain. Thankfully, that prognosis didn’t come true. But I would not be alive today if I had not believed in myself. I believed in my ability to overcome the disease in my body even when other people did not. But I knew I had the strength to fight back—not only to survive but to live and become the person I am supposed to be.
If you want to live, there are several different beliefs you need to adopt as you start your healing journey: you must believe in yourself, believe in a higher power that wants you to succeed, believe in your treatments, and believe in the people advising you. Each belief will play a key role in your recovery by reinforcing your positive mindset.
Believe in yourself
In the early days after the cancer diagnosis, my greatest moment of enlightenment happened when I recognized the immense power of the mind. My thoughts didn’t exist outside of my body; they directly influenced my physical health. I realized my body could not be healthy unless I fed my mind empowering thoughts.
Your thoughts hurt you when you experience stress or think negatively, and they heal you when you think positively and love yourself. This ability to influence the body makes the mind an amazingly effective healing tool you can use to overcome your illness. To harness the power of your mind, you first need to believe in yourself.
A key part of believing in yourself is believing you have the power to change your circumstances. When I first heard my diagnosis, I knew I did not deserve to be sick, but I also realized I had harmed myself by allowing negativity, emotional pain, and stress into my life. I had to take responsibility for my health. By owning everything from my negative thoughts to the lifestyle I lived, I empowered myself. If I had the power to damage my body, then I had the power to reverse it. I believed in my ability to change my mindset, behavior, habits, and health to achieve a remarkable life, and now I’m living it!
Believe in a higher power
Not only should you believe in a higher power, but you should believe that there is something out there to help and guide you. God never gives you anything you cannot handle, and nobody is out to punish you, either. It is a gift and privilege to be given a chance to grow. Any pain we experience is self-inflicted. Pain is a sign that you are living in an imbalanced way. For example, imagine you are in a toxic relationship. The universe did not force you to be with that person. When you feel emotional or physical pain, your body and mind are telling you something in your life needs to change.
By choosing to live in a positive and expansive way, you empower yourself because you are no longer allowing life to run away from you. Instead, you are taking control, which has so many exciting implications. If you have the power to create pain, negativity, and hardship, you have as much power to create positivity, gratitude, and health. You have the power to create an incredible life and live it.
In my case, frequent prayer and surrender helped me through cancer. When I was diagnosed, I did not ask God to take the cancer away; the disease was mine to fix. However, I did ask for help and guidance. In exchange for this guidance, I promised to be alert and aware, and to accept signs that God and the universe sent my way.
Believe in your treatment
You also need to believe in your treatments, not in your prognosis. Do not listen to the statistics the doctors and books tell you. Instead, focus on how your treatments will heal you. How are they affecting your body? How do they make you feel? I knew what I needed to do to heal, but I also felt a disconnect between that belief and the process of getting scans. From going to the hospital and getting a CT scan to then waiting for days to hear about the results, the entire process was stressful. I drove myself crazy worrying about the results from my quarterly scans.
I quickly realized I could not allow my mood and sanity to rise and fall depending on the scan results. I learned to listen to the way my body felt after treatments and on a daily basis. Eventually, I stopped stressing about the scan results. I made a conscious decision to not let test results rule my life and put in the effort to be more at ease.
If you are waiting for a scan result to know whether you will live or die, you clearly have not made the decision to live. You still lack self-belief and belief in your treatments. When I began purposely scheduling my scans, I started developing my muscle of belief and muscle of surrender. I did everything I could while accepting that I could not control everything.
Believe in the people advising you
Throughout your healing journey, there should be a few people whose opinions matter to you. Think of this as your VIP list of people you trust to give you advice. Whom you include on the list is your decision; nobody deserves or is owed a spot on your list. Choose people who believe in your ability to beat your disease and who make you feel good. Remember, your mind is a powerful source of healing when you reject negative thoughts, so you need to surround yourself with positive and empowering influences, including the people around you.
A key part of your transformation is to surrender control over what other people think about you and your choices. Everyone in your life will have an opinion about what you should do, but you cannot listen to them all. Just like everyone has an idea of what a good mom should be, everyone has their thoughts about cancer. Instead, choose your VIP list of people whose opinions you value and believe in their ability to support you. You are not obligated to follow all their advice, but you should seek their thoughts when you need insight or a second opinion. Believe that they want the best for you.
Channel your energy into your beliefs
To create lasting change in your life, put energy into the things you believe in. Invest time and effort into self-improvement and your treatments. Soon enough, you will notice a ripple effect as your awareness of yourself and the world around you heightens. Everything around you will begin to align with your belief.
Have you ever noticed that when you want something, you start to see it everywhere you go? For example, imagine you desperately want a red car. Suddenly, you start seeing red cars all around you. The reality is those red cars have always been there, but your awareness now allows you to see the world through a different lens. The second you start focusing on what you believe in, the less you will see the world in your old, limiting ways. You will not see disease as a death sentence; you will see it as a life sentence that lends an opportunity to change your life.
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