Today I received a thoughtfully written email from a survivor who’s been reading my “7 Common Mistakes Cancer Survivors Make” posts. She said she appreciated the content I’m sharing…but wished I wasn’t using the word “mistake”. Her point was that many survivors are already dealing with self-blame, and the word “mistake” comes across as harsh and accusatory.
I am grateful that her response was so respectfully and thoughtfully worded. I believe she senses my intent to support survivors by providing helpful content, and is responding in a way that’s meant to be helpful to me…which it is.
Writing for the internet has put me on a huge learning curve. The “Mistake” posts are drawing ten times the readership of any post I’d written prior. When so many people read a post, there are some who will resonate with it, and some will not. It’s not likely that I (or even a professional writer) will find language that works for all readers. I’ll do my best to find words that achieve that delicate balance between being helpful and being read. I’d love it if you – like the survivor who responded to me today – would continue to read the loving intention behind my words, and help me along when my wording falls short.
Meanwhile, please hear this, dear survivors: if you’re struggling with self-blame, STOP. Let that puppy go. You are NOT to blame for your cancer. If the word “mistakes” has caused you stress, I apologize…and extend my hand to help you up and out of any “blame game” that’s got a hold on you. There’s nothing I’d love more than to help you engage your self-compassion so you can live a life you’d really love.
Time for you to chime in:
- How does the title “7 Common Mistakes Cancer Survivors Make…and How to Avoid Them” strike you?
- What title would you suggest for this series of posts?
- Have you ever said something with good intention that was perceived as harsh by the listener? How did you handle that situation?
Copyright 2014 Shani Fox, ND, LLC
Keywords: cancer survivor, thriving after cancer, life after cancer, cancer survivor stress, cancer survivor guilt, wellness after cancer