Keeping Up Hope: How to Stay Positive and Focused Rather than Become Defeated

Hope During a Cancer Fight

Hope During a Cancer Fight

Battling cancer can be draining both physically and emotionally. There are days when you may feel great or positive and other days when you are scared, angry, or frustrated. And while it is important to allow yourself the time to feel all of your emotions, to vent your anger or to grieve the loss of your life pre-cancer, it is also important to keep up hope. In other words, remember that you don’t always have to be positive, but it certainly feels better to see the glass as half full, rather than half empty. Our mood does affect how we feel, so when we are positive and hopeful, we feel better. It is a bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

Surround Yourself with Positive Energy

One of the easiest ways to keep a positive attitude is to surround yourself with positive people. These positive people aren’t the ones constantly reminding you to stay positive, rather, they are a shoulder when you need a good cry or help you lighten your load in other ways. These are the people who support you and don’t back away when you want to talk about your fears. They are like sunshine and inspire you to be courageous when you need the push. 

Surrounding yourself with positive energy means reading inspirational books, listening to uplifting music or doing other things that you enjoy. When we do something we love, whether it is watching a favorite movie or sitting in the garden, we feed our souls with love and positive energy which fills the well of hope. 

Mediation or Mantras

Try using meditation or a positive mantra to help keep you focused and hopeful. These forms of self-affirmation helps us to focus on what is important, calm our minds, relieve stress and visualize positivity. 

Minimize or Eliminate Toxic Relationships

On the reverse, it is important to minimize time with or to eliminate toxic relationships. When you do have to deal with these toxic people, have someone who your “spokesperson” with you. Your spokesperson is the one who can say no when you aren’t able to or to ask someone to leave when you can’t. 

Don’t Feel Guilty

Because it is important to experience all of our emotions when dealing with any difficult situation, don’t feel guilty about your response to cancer. You may feel pressure to keep up a good attitude all the time, but this is not realistic. So when you need to feel sad or angry, don’t berate yourself for allowing the time to feel those emotions. Feeling guilty over experiencing these normal emotions can drain the hope right out of us. 

Use Your Support System

Your positive friends and family are you support system, so reach out to them when you need it. You don’t need to fight this battle alone. Having someone to lighten the load will make you feel more positive and hopeful. 

If you feel like you need therapy or counseling to talk through your feelings, know that this doesn’t make you inadequate. Many different people with all types of issues, including battling cancer, seek out counseling to help them understand their emotions better and learn how to see the glass as half full more often. 

Have Something to Fight For

Remember what you are fighting for. Perhaps you fight for your loved ones because they are so supportive of you and you can’t bear the thought of leaving them. No matter what you fight for, remember it during the times when you feel depressed or angry. 

Enjoy the Little Things and Celebrate Milestones

Take time to savor the small things that make you happy, whether that is talking a walk with your loved one or enjoying some good ice cream with friends. These little happy moments pile up faster than you think and can leave us feeling positive. 

Don’t forget to celebrate any milestones in your treatment, even if it is celebrating the fact that you made it through another round of chemo. These silver linings remind you that you are still here, still fighting and still hopeful. 

Are You Really Happy? Or Just Pretending?

Are you just an actor in this play we call life? That may sound a little heavy, but here’s what I’m really asking: Are you truly living life or just playing the role of a bit part? Are you really happy?

I’m going to venture to say that there are two types of people in this world: those that fake it, or pretend their way through life, and those that are real and get the most out of every minute of every day.

Many of us are some combination of the two. But to truly find happiness in life, we all need to shift away from the “pretender” in us and towards the “non-pretender.”

Start by asking yourself which of the two categories below you seem to gravitate towards now. And be honest. No one is listening.

The Pretenders

You might be a pretender if….

• You often take the path of least resistance and tell others what they want to hear.

• You are more worried about hurting someone’s feelings than actually helping those in need.

• You value all the trappings of success — a beautiful house, family and life.

• You prioritize the external appearance of your life over the internal reality of it.

The Non-Pretenders

You might be a non-pretender if…

• You may not always tell people what they want to hear, but will instead tell them what they need to hear.

• You place your emphasis on providing a helping hand to those in need, and show compassion by being forthright about a situation or circumstance, whatever, it may be.

• You put your emphasis on faith, family and friends above all else.

• You measure life based on the intangibles — like relationships, happiness and time — over any material object or thing.   

So Are You Really Happy?

As you’ve probably guessed by now, pretenders tend to look happy, but they’re generally not. Non-pretenders, on the other hand, often don’t care how they appear to others. What they care about is how they feel inside. Are they happy? Are they helping others? Are they enjoying each and every day? Do they go to sleep at night with a sense of inner peace: that what they did today made their lives, and the world as a whole, a better place?

If you’re already in the non-pretender camp, then wonderful. Are you really happy? Probably. But if you’re more “pretender” than you’d like to be, now’s your chance to take a good, hard look at your life. And maybe make some changes that will truly pay off in the long run.

Love: How to Show Love to Those Around You

How to Show Love When Life is Hard

Cancer affects every part of your life, changing the way you see the world and affecting your relationships. For some, it can be difficult to know what to say or do to support someone you love who is battling cancer, especially when a cancer patient is so devastated by the diagnosis that they withdraw from family and friends. For the cancer patient and their family, it can seem like the world is falling apart. But it doesn’t take grand gestures to support a cancer patient and their family. Sometimes, small acts of kindness can show how much you care and that you are there for someone in their time of need, whether it is cancer or some other life changing event. 

Talk About Something Else

Just because someone is battling cancer, or going through some kind of difficulty, doesn’t mean they want to talk about that struggle all the time. Everyone can use a mental break from the things that weigh heavily on us, so talk about something else with your friend or family member. Talk about sports, a favorite book or a movie. 


No one expects you to understand what they are going through. So when someone wants to vent about how they feel, just listen. Getting something off our chest can make a world of a difference to how we feel, at least for a little while. Don’t give advice and you don’t always have to offer positive messages. Sometimes a reassuring squeeze of the hand after a venting session is all they need. Your presence alone can show someone that you love them

Small Acts of Kindness

One of the surest ways to warm someone’s heart when they are feeling down is to do a small act of kindness for them. Whether it is washing the dishes, running a quick errand to the store or making lunch from them, it really is the little things that count. 

Radiate Positive Energy

For someone going through hard times, it is important to fill their environment with positive energy. This doesn’t mean avoiding negative things going on in your life or constantly showering them with cards. Rather, give gentle words of encouragement and smile. A smile is a great way to show someone a little love and to lift their spirits. 

Laughter is Good Medicine

Maybe we aren’t all amazing comedians but we can bring a smile to the face of someone we love with a corny joke, a funny memory or doing something silly together. Taking the time to focus on bringing a smile to someone else’s face shows you care about their happiness.

The Person Under the Pain

Don’t forget that there is still a person there under all that pain. Cancer and other diagnosis can change the way a person looks. It is important that you look past the physical changes and remind them that they are still the same person that you love. Perhaps tell them that are still beautiful or handsome to you.  

By doing little things, you can show someone that you care. And when we show we care about someone, we are sending them our love. We are telling them that we are here for them, no matter what. 

The Grass Is Always Greener… or Is It?

I want to change things up a little bit for this blog. This poem was written April 2019 to capture the harsh realities associated with a divorce.

All couples experience challenging times in their relationship. Just because a relationship is going through a rough patch, however, doesn’t necessarily mean that life would be better if the relationship was over. 

Now, I’m not saying that every couple should stay together regardless of the circumstances. Plenty of couples would probably be happier and better off if they weren’t together. But it’s human nature for individuals to think that things would be better (and the grass would be greener) if they found a new partner, got a new job, or moved to a new house. And often that desire to chase something … anything … is more about the person and less about the situation.

So as the poem’s closing states…the grass may appear, but is not always greener on the other side…and sometimes the grass is pretty darn green where you are.

The Wars We Wage

An impenetrable bond
That once encased two hearts
Is now in a state of disarray
Shattered and torn apart

And when the warring factions
Placed their battlements on the ground
Little was left standing
A familiar world turned upside down

Looking over the battlefield
Where both sides were engaged
Remained relics of the bitterness
From which this uncivil war was waged

And now the spoils from the victory
Seem hardly worth the cost
When considering the sheer magnitude
Of personal and financial loss

So, the lesson that can be taken
And one should keep in mind
The grass may appear, but is not always
Greener on the other side

Written by: Frank Antonicelli
April 2019