‘I don’t have any choice’. The utterance of resignation. Acceptance, but grudging acceptance. These words put you in a place of disempowerment, which never feels good. They’re not even necessarily true. Most of the time we have a choice, but we choose not to acknowledge that. Or the choices are so obvious it doesn’t feel like a choice. The most powerful choice we have is our reaction to our environment and the events that take place around us. Our interpretation of those events. Believe it or not, nothing has meaning until we assign it.

I had a surgery and the resulting scar looked good. I was initially relieved, and then so disappointed to find out I needed a further surgery and the scar was expected to not look good. I was very grumpy leading up to the second surgery, angry with those medical dickheads who were doing this to me. That was how I saw it – they were doing it to me and I had no choice. These bastards were going to mutilate my body against my will.

I was out walking one day, stumping along muttering to myself about how unfair everything was and the great tragedy that was my life, when I suddenly realised that no-one was ‘doing’ anything to me. I had a choice. It was my body, I had every right to refuse further surgery. I was under no obligation to submit to it. I had been strongly advised to have it and I had considered the advice in the light of my medical situation and consciously decided to consent to the surgery because I wished to remain alive. That was my choice. No-one was ‘mutilating’ me. I was having this procedure for my health and to potentially save my life. That is not an act of submitting to mutilation, that is an act of self-preservation and self-love. My body may end up with aesthetic imperfections as a result, but its functionality and state of being alive is being preserved and enhanced.

How lucky I am to have access to doctors who can do this operation and a hospital where I can safely have it done. In many places around the world I would not even know I had cancer and would simply die. I am not backed into a corner, I am making a life-affirming choice to take care of my wellbeing and am fortunate to have this opportunity to do so. So I stopped grumbling and strode home feeling happy and strong. Circumstances around me were still exactly the same, I had just reframed my attitude to my reality so that it felt better. I used to think of such reframing practices as ‘lying to yourself,’ but the glass-half-full point of view is often perfectly true, if you are open-minded enough to consider the possibility.

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