What exactly is a circumstance? Here is the definition I found on Google:
circumstance: a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action
Is your husband’s cancer a circumstance? Look at the definition above and really think about it.
I’m guessing that a variation of one of these thoughts came up:
Of course it’s not just a circumstance, it sucks!
I would never think of it that way!
Well, technically I guess it could be, but…
Most of us have very strong emotions tied to our husband’s cancer, so it might at first attempt be difficult to think of it in such a removed way. But what if you did? Humor me here.
In coaching, one of the first things we learn is that all circumstances are neutral until we have a thought about them. Let me explain that a little more. Circumstances are just the facts of the world devoid of any judgement. The weather, your past, other people’s behaviors, any situation… these are examples of circumstances. None of these things are inherently good or bad, until you apply your thoughts to them.
Here is an example: It’s a clear, 65 degree day. That is a circumstance and completely neutral. If I say, it’s a beautiful day, I’m making a judgement about the weather and deciding to think it’s beautiful and so I enjoy the day. Someone else might make a different judgement and say it’s a little on the cool side, and enjoy the day less. We are both referring to the exact same weather, but have different thoughts about it and thus different experiences of the same day.
What about cancer?
Take a few seconds right now and do a Google search of “cancer is the best thing that ever happened to me.” Amazing what comes up, right? How can all those people view cancer that way?
Because cancer isn’t inherently good or bad, it just is. YOU decide what you want to think about it. When you think on purpose, you take back your power. Once you can separate out the fact of your husband’s cancer from your thoughts about it, you can then decide how you want to think. How you think will determine how you feel.
Maybe to this point, you’ve been thinking on default.
Cancer is a terrible disease.
Cancer is unfair.
Cancer is ruining our life!
Consider right now how all those thoughts make you feel. They probably make you feel terrible, a victim, angry. When you feel terrible, or like a victim, or angry, your actions will come from those places. Can you really make good decisions and help your husband heal if you feel like a victim? Can you best take care of your family when you are angry? Usually not because negative emotions lead to negative actions.
Remember, circumstances are neutral until you have a thought about them. So, you can choose how you want to think and feel about the cancer in your life. I know for me and my husband, cancer has taught us some really valuable life lessons and we both are re-discovering ourselves and our potential because of it. As your Google search demonstrated, a lot of people have chosen to view cancer as the best thing that ever happened to them.
Your husband’s cancer is a circumstance. How you think about it is your choice. Truly evaluate how you want to think. It will really make all the difference!