Staying in center

This entry was written by Michael J. Formica, MS MA EdM, Editor and Project Coordinator for LBBC who, as a mental health and education professional with more than 25 years of experience, also blogs regularly at Psychology Today.

During the month of January, and in honor of LBBC’s 20th anniversary, Michael has committed to writing follow-up blogs reflecting the emotional appeal of the blog published the day prior. In this blog, Michael explores the concept of staying centered in oneself suggested in Tyesha Love’s Cancer, one of the reasons for going after my degree.

We love labels. They bring a sense of order to things. The dangerous thing about labels, though, is that, sometimes, we can get so attached to the label that we lose sight of the thing being labeled. When that thing is us, we can just as easily lose sight of ourselves, falling into the trap of defining ourselves as our disease, our disorder or our diagnosis.

Breast cancer is a big deal. It is, quite frankly, probably one of the biggest white elephants ever to occupy a room. The reason for this is that breast cancer is not just one thing — like a heart condition or an emotional dysregulation — but, rather, it’s a complex constellation of things affecting self-perception, body image, social relationships, sexuality and the list goes on; the proverbial pebble in a pond.

The question for those affected by breast cancer is, “What are you going to do with it”? Will you integrate your experience into the ever evolving fabric of your life and who you are, or will you let it define you? Definitions are labels, and labels limit us. If we choose to avoid letting the labels that are imposed upon us – whether from the inside or the outside – define us, then our potential remains limitless, and we remain empowered to live our lives fully, with joy and purpose.

What did you do to ensure that breast cancer would not label you or your life? Comment here or on our Facebook page.

One thought on “Staying in center

  1. I noticed early on that my breast cancer made other people uncomfortable. No surprise there. So I often found myself almost apologizing for it when people grew nervous about how to interact with me. I dreaded being labelled breast cancer survivor. It is not a label I ever want to wear or be known by. Instead, I want to feel like I am an adapter – that when faced with this big scary monster, I learned and grew rather than retreating in fear. It doesn’t make the fear go away, but it gives you something to do with it.

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