It took a cancer diagnosis to arrive at peace

Jacqueline confessed to living seventy-eight years in a constant state of desperation to be loved and needed, so she made herself indispensible. At an early age, her life’s mission was to put the needs of others ahead of her own. She didn’t enjoy going the extra mile for people she didn’t care about, but she thought she had to act in certain ways to feel loved and accepted. Giving fortified her self-esteem, but didn’t bring her joy. She neglected to give to one very important person, herself.

Her terminal cancer diagnosis helped her realize that she had been dishonest to everyone around her. She said, “I was never true to myself. In a way, that was selfish, it was a control thing. I made people need me.”

It was a shock to Jacqueline when she could no longer keep up with her role as the giver. She feared that if she stopped giving, she would lose approval, affection, and love. Her illness deprived her of her ability to live independently. When she became the one who needed loving care, she was terrified. It was extremely difficult for her to accept help.

Only when she was forced to stop meeting the needs of others, she started nurturing herself. She was a brilliant watercolor artist and hadn’t painted in decades. Once housebound, she was gifted with all the supplies she needed and she started joyously painting impressive scenes of nature, from memory. The walls of her home are now covered with beautifully detailed paintings of majestic redwoods, raging rivers, breathtaking spring meadows, and vibrant ocean views.

Jacqueline said, “I’ve worked through the regret of not loving myself first and I have finally found peace.” For her, it took cancer and the reality of death to arrive at peace of heart and mind. What will it take for you?

Are your actions in alignment with your true authentic nature? Do you feel resentful about what you say yes to? Who would you be if you said no to those perceived obligations that aren’t serving your highest good?

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