Most cancer survivors that I have met have reported their surprise at how some friends have difficulty dealing with their illness. Why? One simple answer—they are afraid. I want to encourage you to remember that fear is always under their behavior and try your best to see it with innocence. Usually, when we are able to see that it’s really fear then we are able to naturally have compassion for that person.
Friends want to help but they’re not sure how. You could always tell them! Friends want to put their two cents in about your choices. Listen kindly! But set boundaries which is a component of healing. Friends will get angry at you when you’re not doing what they think you should be doing—an anger perhaps you have never seen. If it continues then protect yourself—the stakes are high now—it’s time to stop taking caring of everyone’s feelings.
Friends will blow you away with their support and generosity then suddenly will disappear on you. This happened to me. It taught me a lot about acceptance and what to focus on. Also, it made me take a hard look at who I want in my life.
Certainly, the obvious one—you will find out very quickly who are friends and who are acquaintances. I encourage you allow this discovery to be a good thing—you can make that choice. Anger, resentment, judgment, etc…are all emotional states you want to avoid on your healing journey. If you feel disappointed by people—just let it go and stay focused on healing. You have to, my friends, it’s your life.
Cancer or any chronic illness can create many opportunies to learn about your life and choices you make. Your illness may reveal things about friends that you would have never seen if you hadn’t gotten sick. This goes both ways. An acquaintance suddenly becomes a close supportive friend.
Try your very best to treat these possible surprises and disappointments around friends with composure. Use these moments as a chance to sharpen your spiritual sword.