• I recently saw a quote that says "Positive thinking does not always change the problem, but it will always change you"

    Asked by GregP_WN on Thursday, October 27, 2016

    I recently saw a quote that says "Positive thinking does not always change the problem, but it will always change you"

    There's no hiding the fact that I am PRO positive, but there is always someone who wants to beat the drum of cancer sucks, it's terrible, my life is ruined, and there is NOTHING positive about it. I agree!! But.....I simply believe that having a positive attitude about everything builds you into a positive person that is capable of handling tough situations in life better, including fighting cancer.

    Thoughts?

    18 Answers from the Community

    18 answers
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I have seen many of my friends spend all their energy trying to work up a positive attitude and direct none of their energy. I credit my survival to a negative personality. I thought cancer was going to kill me but I would not go down without a fight. (my attitude would have been the same if it had been any other disease) I also think an artificial positive attitude (put on a happy face) is more detrimental than a negative attitude. A negative attitude is sometimes more realistic and can help you to see solutions. I believe that the real answer here is to be yourself. If you are a positive person be positive look on the bright side but don't let it blind you to reality. If you are a negative person, take that energy and address the problem. Both personalities should focus on the problem and solutions. And not worry about attitude.

      over 3 years ago
    • lh25's Avatar
      lh25

      Interesting question. I see your point BoiseB, and that makes sense.

      That said, I tend to be a positive person and I really believe that has helped in my journey. I have had many people comment on how well I'm handling it, and my feeling is that I don't have any other way to be. It doesn't make sense to me to not be positive, it won't change a thing.

      That's not to say I put on a fake happy face, or that I haven't had bad moments and a couple of pretty spectacular meltdowns. Just that overall, I handle things better if I stay on the positive side most of the time.

      over 3 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      I.H. It is the same way with me. All my life I tried to be what others wanted me to be. That really hadn't worked for me. When I was told I would soon be dead, the real me had to emerge. And I found out that the real me was a naughty donkey (you can figure that out) . I saw a lot of negativity in cancer. But I ranted, and I threw pity parties and I beat two cancers. I found my strength.
      No one should tell anyone how to feel and that definitely applies to Cancer patients.
      You are a proton and I am an electron.

      over 3 years ago
    • lh25's Avatar
      lh25

      "No one should tell anyone how to feel and that definitely applies to Cancer patients. "

      This needs to be our motto - all of us!

      over 3 years ago
    • Janetspringer's Avatar
      Janetspringer

      I totally agree agree with you Greg. Being positive does not mean you give up and stop fighting. I realized early on that a positive attitude was to my benefit. I think that's one reason chemo went as smooth as it did.

      over 3 years ago
    • cards7up's Avatar
      cards7up

      As the post implies, being positive doesn't beat cancer but can give you better coping skills than always making it negative! And being positive doesn't mean you can't fight the cancer fight, any more than being negative can mean the same thing! It's about hope!
      Take care, Judy

      over 3 years ago
    • robere's Avatar
      robere

      BoiseB, I think you nailed it in noting the differences "You are a proton and I am an electron". I totally agree that being yourself and not wasting energy in pretense is the key; however, I would also like to praise the power of the neutron. Perhaps being a neutron myself gives me a rather (non-medical) jaundiced view of the "power" of the neutron and gives me insights into how often neutrons are concurrently wrongly classified as positive and negative. Being a neutron allowed me to comfortable challenge medical advice, choose a minimalist course of treatment among the medical options offered and comfortably accept any consequences without regret. I do admit that "without regret" may have been influenced by rather positive results in spite of my obstructionism. I also agree that the capacity to see the positive, even if illusionary, is a worthwhile talent to develop for most.

      over 3 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      It will be no surprise to anyone who reads anything I post to read that I totally agree. I choose to be happy. I will not waste time dwelling on the negative. Cancer may one day rob me of life, but until that time comes, I will LIVE, fully and joyfully. Every single day, I look for and find reasons to be happy I woke up.

      My personal opinion is that people who wallow in self pity have let cancer win while they are still here. I pray I don't let it win until I draw my last breath.

      (I am also very aware that I am extremely fortunate because I am not in any pain and I have been able to build up my stamina so that I CAN live my life. Some of us here on WhatNext are not so lucky. Those who deal with constant pain, weakness caused by advancing disease, and/or terrible side effects that totally alter their lives have challenges I have only briefly encountered. Maybe I would have a harder time having a bright attitude if faced with those very real challenges.)

      over 3 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      I just went w/often self-deprecating humor to get me through treatment. I had my moments, especially after diagnosis & before treatment, that I decided I was dead. Drove around the campus where the local hospice is. Wondered if I should plan anything, even to the point of renewing magazine subscriptions. I'm usually a whiner, but I didn't do that very often through treatment. I was actual WAY more positive than I usually was, and I don't know why...

      over 3 years ago
    • Ejourneys' Avatar
      Ejourneys

      I love @BoiseB's answer, "Be yourself."

      My temperament is generally positive, especially with respect to cancer. My fascination with the whole process and wish to learn saved me there. The collateral damage is something I deal with and find work-arounds for: it is what it is. All the more reason for me to enjoy life as much as I can. I think that helps my resilience.

      Cancer doesn't challenge my positivity, but caregiving does, particularly when I come up against my partner's negativity and psychological ju jitsu. I vent in my journal when I need to get things off my chest. I also have something of an existential streak that can help me or hinder me, depending on the day.

      over 3 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      @robere, I just posted a photo on the pinboard that I think you will get a kick out of

      over 3 years ago
    • Bug's Avatar
      Bug

      Coincidentally, I recently read the opinion that being positive, happy, etc., can give you better coping skills (as some others here have said). It doesn't change the bad stuff into something better or make it go away but it helps you to cope better. I had not thought of that before. I'm certainly no Polly Anna but I have indeed been finding that trying to be more upbeat can help me cope with things better.

      over 3 years ago
    • gonewest's Avatar
      gonewest

      From Forbes, August, 2016 This is a short article on inner-speech and methodology to promote a more positive approach.
      Everything below is taken verbatim and author credit is noted.

      Forget Positive Thinking: This Is How To Actually Change Negative Thoughts For Success
      Melody Wilding , CONTRIBUTOR

      There’s no shortage of self-help gurus who swear that repeating positive phrases to yourself can change your life, encouraging that if you simply tell yourself “I am strong and successful”, your fears will simply disappear.
      If you’ve tried using positive affirmations, you know that it can be a difficult habit to maintain. You may spend five, 10 or even 20 minutes reciting your affirmation, but the other 23 hours of the day? Chances are that your mind drifts back to old, repetitive thoughts that have burned deep grooves in your brain.
      The problem with positive affirmations is that they operate at the surface level of conscious thinking and do nothing to contend with the subconscious mind where limiting beliefs really live.
      It goes without saying that if you command yourself to think “I am abundant and attract wealth”, yet your deeply held core belief is that you are never enough or unworthy of your success, your brain will be quick to incite an inner war. If you trying tell yourself “I am successful”, but you struggle with insecurity regarding your skills and accomplishments, your subconscious may likely remind you of the many times you’ve embarrassed yourself in front of your boss or made a mistake at work (trust me, we’ve all been there!).

      The truth is that it’s natural and healthy to experience a range of feelings, including less pleasant ones like disappointment, sadness or guilt. While there’s no question that ruminating in negative emotions can turn toxic, whitewashing your insecurities with positive thinking is merely a temporary fix.
      Unreasonably optimistic thinking can trigger a self-defeating spiral, particularly for those prone to anxiety and depression. Research shows that while repeating positive self-statements may benefit people with high self-regard, it can backfire for those lacking confidence.

      If positive affirmations can be ineffective–even detrimental–how are we to take control and mentally empower ourselves to change?

      While wishing ourselves into a success mindset won’t work for most, here’s a few strategies to try to make your self-talk work for you instead of against you.

      Dig Yourself Out From “Debbie Downer” Thoughts.

      Start with articulating and acknowledging thoughts weighing you down–ones that don’t serve any useful purpose beyond keeping you stuck. Releasing statements, such as, “I forgive myself for procrastinating” or “It’s okay for me to be angry” shortcut self-bashing and free up emotional resources.

      If you spend less time beating yourself up for procrastinating, you can redirect that energy into breaking down a project into manageable tasks and actually tackling your to-do list instead.

      Give Interrogative Self-Talk A Try.

      Research shows that asking ourselves questions rather than issuing commands is a much more effective way to create change. It’s as simple as tweaking the way you speak to yourself. When you catch your inner critic flinging accusations, think: how can I turn this statement into a question? (see what I did there?). Asking questions opens up exploration and possibility.

      Here’s some examples:

      Am I willing to do what it takes?
      When have I done this before?
      What if [insert worse case scenario] happens?
      How can I…?
      This type of self-inquiry powers up problem-solving areas of the brain helping you tap into your innate creativity. You’re able to greet negative thoughts with curiosity instead of fear.

      Focus on Progress, Not Perfection.

      Using a positive affirmation like “I am wonderful and powerful” may backfire if you don’t truly, deeply believe it at both a cognitive and emotional level. To effectively re-frame your thinking, consider who you are becoming, focusing on your progress–the current track or path you’re on.

      You might re-work your self-talk to sound more like “I am a work in progress, and that’s OK.” It’s pointing you in the direction of positive growth and is both realistic and achievable. Another example: telling yourself “Every moment I’m making an effort to be more conscious about how I spend my money” acknowledges the fact that you are evolving and that you have choice in creating a better financial future for yourself.

      If you’re prone to negative self-talk and are sick of positive affirmations that don’t work, try one of these re-framing techniques. You may start to notice major changes in your mindset and an uptick in your productivity and success.

      Melody J. Wilding helps ambitious women and female entrepreneurs master their inner psychology for success and happiness. Learn more aboutbetter career and life balance at melodywilding.com.

      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar
      CAS1

      Gone West love it..

      To be honest i keep a great deal to myself so I don't have to have people tell me the annoying "stay positive" line.. It's not that i am not positive its just I don't want to hear anyone tell me how i should feel so I simply don't mention anything.

      over 3 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Gone West that is a great article. As I read it I realized those were exactly my coping mechanisms. I when I try to just be positive or even have a positive attitude. I wind up putting on a happy face and ultimately failing at being positive and feeling worse than before. Meanwhile the situation worsens. But when I got cancer I did take my negative thoughts and turn them into questions
      I still consider myself to be a negative person and prefer the company of gloomy Gus to Pollyanna. But I seem to be able to better their situation

      over 3 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      I agree, @CAS1, about hating to hear the "stay positive" line from others. Especially people who have never faced anything serious in their lives!!

      @BuckeyeShelby, I did the same thing. I didn't renew magazine subscriptions that first year. The second year, I went overboard and we had way too many magazines arriving!! I didn't renew most of them this year, but the reason was lack of time, not the expectation that I wouldn't be here to read them. I still really hesitate to send deposits for something months into the future, just in case...

      @gonewest, I have always thought repeating mantras was stupid, but... I do have self-talks, sometimes!! The article did a great job of describing some of the talks Me and I have with one another!!

      over 3 years ago
    • LiveWithCancer's Avatar
      LiveWithCancer

      @BoiseB, you always frame yourself as a negative person, but that's not who I see here on WhatNext the vast majority of the time. I see a very compassionate and caring individual with a great sense of humor and quick wit.

      over 3 years ago
    • BoiseB's Avatar
      BoiseB

      Thank you Live With Cancer, I have recently relinquished my title of Queen of the Dark for the title Princess Heather Gray that is still dark but with flecks of gray. Cancer forced me to be myself and that self is a skate boarding mama dog (I think you guys can figure that one out)

      over 3 years ago

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