I sat in front of the Doctor, stunned.
He calmly repeated it.
You have cancer.
It was funny how it started.
My husband bought us a new mattress and I was mad that he wanted to spend $1000 for a mattress. And I was frustrated.
I felt like he should save money as we both were working really hard. He felt it was okay since it was his bonus check.
And that was it.
For nine months, we had two Queen sized mattresses in the room.
And I slept on the old one. (It sounds so petty and hilarious now!)
I held onto the grudge like it was a new baby.
And every day I went into the room, seeing the mattress, I got mad all over again.
For nine months.
Until I had to make a hospital appointment. What was supposed to be a routine check turned into a series of tests, x-rays, ultrasound scans and a biopsy.
Then I got the dreaded call.
DIS-Ease in both breasts.
I told myself, “I don’t have time for this. I have too much to live for”.
After three successful surgeries, my doctor left a quarter sized opening in the front of my stomach. As he took the stitches out after six weeks of healing, I looked at him and asked, “aren’t you going to stitch that up?”
He said to me with kindness in his eyes, “you will have to heal from the inside out”.
And I knew.
I knew what the problem was. And I was willing to commit to learning what got me to this point.
In sharing my story and doing some research, I have discovered that I am not alone in this.
Many women suffer from certain illnesses that are as a result of prolonged negative emotions.
The irony is they look like they have the “perfect” life on the outside.
But they are sad on the inside.
Research has shown that chronic anger puts you in a fight-or-flight mode (fight in my case!) which results in sharp changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune responses. These then increase the risk of you having a stroke, suffering depression, heart disease among other conditions.
You may feel justified in getting upset and staying upset with someone, but I’m not sure that it is in the best interest of your health.
What about productivity?
You get more work done when you are happy and in a positive state of mind.
When you allow your mind to dwell on hurtful words and actions, you have little mental energy for important tasks.
Trust me, it’s not worth the trouble.
Here’s what to do instead
Let it Go
Yes, they hurt you. Let it go.
Yes, they may have not apologized to you. Let it go.
Yes they do not deserve your forgiveness. Let it go.
Some people are still angry about what someone said to them years ago. It has become the reason for the invisible walls around their heart.
Girl, let it go!
You don’t need to be trapped in negative emotions caused by another person’s opinion or action.
The Serenity prayer says,
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference”.
You need to forgive whoever has caused you pain, not because of them, but for your own sake.
You deserve to be happy and whole.
Increase your Joy
Emotions are triggered by memories. To replace sad and hurtful memories, it is time to create new ones.
In place of anger, participate in activities that increase your joy. Connect with people and places that put a smile on your face. Constantly fill your heart (and head) with positive images and interactions.
It will be easier for time to heal certain wounds when you are deliberate about creating a positive experience for yourself.
When you cover an injury without treatment, it festers. You need to address the root cause of the anger/fear. This could either be talking to a close friend about the issue or speaking to a therapist, counselor or getting help from a support group.
No one is an island of knowledge and you never know whose experience can help you heal faster.
Constantly harboring anger, fear and bitterness can do a lot more damage than good. It can not only make you unproductive as a person but open the doors to chronic illnesses and this is why I share my story.
I’m cheering for you!
MaDonna Williams is a Mindset Coach and she helps high-achieving women to release negative emotions, through letting go of the negative labels and practicing forgiveness, so they can walk in their greatness and purpose. Get her free guide titled 5 Ways to Divorce Your Resentment and be your best self, inside out!
Image courtesy of Felipe Moutinho.