Words are very powerful and influence our mind, body and spirit.  Words may trigger feelings of joy or excitement and our body and spirit may feel light and energized or they may stir a sense of dread leaving the body feeling heavy and our spirit stifled. Our reaction is very personal.

When I was first diagnosed, the word “cancer” was overwhelming. In my mind it encompassed every diagnosis, every treatment and every outcome. It felt like a 100 lb. weight on my shoulders and it took my breath away. Each time I heard it or told others, the air seemed to be sucked out of the room.

I know that when we think positive, it changes the chemistry in our body and healing can occur much easier. I knew each time I repeated it, it was stifling my mind, body and spirit and I just had to do something quickly. So after much deliberation, I changed the word “cancer” to “cells gone wild”. “There!” I thought, “I can finally breath again. When I told others, their long drawn faces would lighten up, they would chuckle and say, “Well, that’s really what it is”. It seemed much more manageable to all of us.

Then someone so lovingly told me I would be a “breast cancer survivor”.  I felt like I was kicked in the gut. Although “survivor” is hopeful to some, it triggered a sense of dread and suffering for me.  In an instant my body felt heavy, my emotions overwhelming, and it felt like the life was sucked out of my spirit. Once again I decided if I was going to get through this I had to find a new word. I had to find one that was uplifting and energized me. I kept “trying on” different words and finally I found one and clung to it like a life preserver to someone who is drowning. Of course I wanted to survive, but I had to believe that I would much more than survive, that I was going to eventually use this experience for good in my life and the life of others.  I was going to THRIVE one moment or day at a time!  During those dark days it was hard to believe that I was ever going to get through it, so I kept repeating it and wrote it down on everything to help me remember.  I know that if we hear something long enough, positive or negative, we start believing it. I wanted to believe that eventually I would feel like a THRIVER!

Whatever your challenge, be it a physical or emotional, a relationship struggle, life transition etc. , listen to the words you use.  Remember, your reaction is personal. You may be a THRIVER, a warrior or conqueror or even create your own word/s. You get to “try them on” to see how they fit. Make sure they trigger a sense of hope, support, encouragement and empower you. Choose them carefully!

– Victoria

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