How I Used Positivity To Survive Divorce, Grief And Breast Cancer

How I Used Positivity To Survive Divorce And Breast Cancer

By Tammi C. Walker

What is all of this talk about just be positive?  Is it really worth it? You bet your bottom dollar it is!  Whenever I speak about being positive, I always go back to the beginning or the early stages of my life.  Overall, I was a happy child, teenager and young adult.  However, I was in a marriage that I was not happy in at the age of 22.  It just got worse and worse because there was abuse involved in my marriage.  I spent some years trying to figure out how to “fix” this marriage and eventually how to get out of it. I did get a divorce and eventually I became a better person for it. But even after the divorce, immediately there was no magic pill for instant happiness. I think I was under the delusion that once I am divorced things will magically become better. I did not want to do the work to make them better. I was immature and just lost.

I had battle scars from the failed marriage and abuse and I drug that heavy coat of sadness, bitterness and disappointment around with me for years. I told a story that did not need to be told anymore for years.  All in all it is okay now because it is all of these events that shaped me into the person I am today.  This started in 1999, the divorce and I did not handle things in a positive manner. How do you handle a divorce in a positive manner? I think you can and I am not saying it will be easy but it is possible.  But because I chose to be bitter, negative and a victim, after the divorce, I remained in a very bad place for 8 long years.

It was not until 2006-2007 that I began to see the light. However, by this time, I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at the age of 36 years old.  But thankfully for me, because of my new found “I am going to be positive approach”, it worked.  When I was first diagnosed with cancer, it shocked me and I was terrified. After the shock wore off, I would say 1-2 weeks later, maybe slightly more, I wrapped my mind around the chemotherapy treatment and losing my hair.  I bought the cutest wigs I could find and I refused to be down.  Of course I was very ill from the chemotherapy or medicine to counteract the chemotherapy but I pressed on. I still did my exercises and tried to go to work when I could.  I went to the doctor with a smile and some people did not even know I was sick.  I chose to face this illness with a positive spirit.

In 2012, one of the most devastating things happened to me again.  I was first devastated in 1999 when I lost my dear Dad to a massive heart attack and it devastated me and my entire family for years.  Well in 2012, my Mom passed of brain cancer.  Both of my parents passed at the age of 64 years old.  Now I am in my 40’s so the age 64 sounds quite young to me at this stage of my life.  How can one be positive about the passing of their beloved Mom or Dad? It is not easy and it takes some deep meditation.  Also it took me to be real with myself and properly mourn my Mom.

I knew that I was hurting very badly. So every day, after work, I would come home and sit in my recliner in front of the tv and cry.  I cried most evenings until I could not cry anymore. I had to cry because I use to speak with my Mom in the evenings and I knew I could not.  I could feel myself sinking so I contacted my therapist and begin to see her and we began the process of grief counseling.  I also tricked my mind.  The mind is powerful but it can be tricked.  I enrolled in a music producing course. I am an avid music lover, a singer and songwriter and I knew if I did my passion I would not be sad.  It worked!

Look, I am not saying don’t mourn, don’t be sad and don’t grieve.  I still cry for my Mom and even my Dad I think of him and all the fun I had with them both and I don’t think my life will ever be the same without my parents. But I can smile now. I think of the positive words they taught my sisters and I.  Things in life are going to happen to us all. No one escapes this and it does not matter how much money you have or the color of your skin. Unfortunately death will knock on all of our doors and it will come to our loved ones.  I hope you don’t have to face a nasty illness like me but we all have to face something.  Let me give you some tips on how to stay positive and how it will make your life better.

  1. Focus on the solution not the problem.  Most problems even the heavy and traumatic ones have a solution.  Focus on that solution and stick with it.
  2. Don’t mull over your problem for months and years.  Mulling and worrying about a problem can cause great stress.  Stress can lead to many illnesses and we do not need that.  Do your best to make peace with your problem and move on.  Watch your stress level.
  3. Solicit the help of a professional. If the problem is too big for you, solicit help.  Don’t be ashamed.
  4. Trick the mind.  If your problem is a break up or something that is causing you great sadness, try to counteract it with a positive event.    Fill up your time volunteering or doing something very fun.  Work on your own dreams and passions. It will be hard at first but keep going. After a while you will not remember you are supposed to be down in the dumps. You can’t be sad if you are helping someone else or pursuing your passion.
  5. Go to the worst case scenario.  What is the worse that will happen if you don’t get back together with this person? Will you die?  I am using a break up as an example because this is one thing that we don’t handle well as humans. No one likes heartache.  But during break ups, staying busy is a great tool. It will help you move pass the person.  Acknowledge the hurt, put a plan in place for healing and stay busy.  You will survive it. You are a tough cookie.
  6. Avoid negativity and negative people. There are times in our life when we can’t watch the news or read all of this crap that is out here.  It is overwhelmingly negative.  Limit watching the news on some days. Also limit yourself from negative people. Run the other way. Seriously just run.  Your mind and time is valuable and you want to spend it in a good light.  I try to encourage people but if I see they are stubborn or stuck, I just silence myself.
  7. Stay active and work out. Releasing happy endorphins is amazing.  Plus you will look better. When you look better you feel better.  Exercise your way into a positive life.
  8. Eat better.  When you eat vegetables and fruit you feel better.  Try juicing.  It has amazing side effects.  You will feel revived!
  9. Turn to your spirituality.  With God we can overcome cancer, heart ache, bereavement, lack of money, disappointment.  There is nothing God can’t fix.  Dig deep and get connected to some positive readings or bible studies.  The bible has the answer to any problem we face.  What we face are not new problems. The bible speaks of these things. Going to church is a great help. It is always good to worship with other believers but what about when you go home?  You need something to hold on to after service.  Get connected to some great bible readings. It will change your mindset.
  10. Watch how you think and the words you say.  Speak well over your life and expect the best.  Do not say negative words like, “I will never get married”, “I will never find a good job”, “I will never get a date”, “I will never get a good job”.  This is self-defeating talk. Always speak well and expect the best.  “I will get a great job”, “I will get married”, “ The best is yet to come”.

Recently I was trying to encourage someone who was not in a good place and they went on to say,  “Oh yeah I forgot you are a life coach and you talk that positive stuff”. Umm YEAH!! That is what I do. I never met a depressed, down trotted life coach!! Who would hire me?

Stay well, stay positive and reach for the stars.  I believe in you my friend.

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Tammi C. Walker
Tammi C. Walker was born and raised in the city of Chicago, Illinois. She is a life coach and owner of Dreams Are A Reality. She also is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer.