Advice from a 5-Time Cancer Survivor on How to Move Forward
by Darlene Edwards
Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Like you never have enough time, money, or energy to accomplish what you set out to do – whether that’s searching for a new job, ending a relationship, or managing your health? Do you find yourself trapped in a pattern of negative thoughts, behaviors, or actions that prevent you from moving forward? You always have too much going on or too many conflicting priorities, so you wind up throwing your hands in the air and saying, “I just can’t do it.”
When my toddler granddaughter has trouble moving an object blocking her way or getting out of a tricky position, she calls out, “I am stuck!” Naturally, her grandfather and I ask if she needs help. She usually answers “yes.” So, we offer the necessary aid, and she happily goes on her way.
As adults, we can get stuck too. We may be comfortable in our current place in life, as it’s what we know. Although, it may not be what we truly desire. This can lead us to become reluctant or afraid to move forward. We may doubt ourselves and our abilities. Or even lose patience with ourselves, wanting immediate results and satisfaction even though we know life doesn’t work that way.
If we spend too much time looking back, we can’t move forward.
When we get stuck, asking for help can be very difficult. Nonetheless, it is worth seeking help for challenging feelings and emotions. There are many trained mental healthcare professionals who can assist us when we get to that “stuck” place. Family and friends are also often willing to lend a helping hand if we reach out.
Additionally, if we want to become unstuck, we must not dwell on the past. If we spend too much time looking back, we can’t move forward. Remember, we should only look to our past to gain perspective for where we are now. It’s important that we keep our mind in the present and enjoy the moments that are here and now.
To help us remember this lesson, my husband has a small sign hanging up in our home that reads, “Don’t look back; you’re not going that way.” So, whenever something comes up that tempts us to dwell on the past, we repeat that mantra to each other to remind us to keep going, to continue moving forward.
To once again quote our incredibly wise toddler granddaughter, when she finds herself unstuck from a situation, she shouts with glee: “I did it!” And when it comes to getting unstuck, you can do it too. By taking one small step each day – whether it’s calling someone for help, taking a walk to clear your mind, or giving yourself an encouraging pep talk – you can get yourself unstuck. And you can use that momentum to always keep moving forward in life.
Darlene Edwards is married to her husband, Rick, and they have two adult children, a son-in law, and one beautiful toddler granddaughter. Darlene is retired from a career that included nursing, education, and hospital administration in a large teaching hospital in central Virginia. She is a five-time cancer survivor and currently volunteers with several nonprofits in central Virginia.
This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, Spring/Summer 2023.
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