Important life lessons that I learned from breast cancer

I’ve recently supported a very dear friend of mine through breast cancer. While she is doing really well and hopefully will be in remission when she goes for her review at the end of February, it was really interesting supporting her through this difficult time. I don’t mean interesting in its traditional sense, I mean interesting in the sense of the things we talked about.

What her journey taught me, above everything else is that too many of us wait too long to live our best lives.  My friend talked about things she had put off, things she wished she had the courage to do and things she is going to do once she is well. She has decided that she is no longer putting things off until ‘tomorrow’.

Life is shorter than it often seems. Here are five important things that my friend taught me and now I am sharing them with you, before it’s too late:

1 – Today, this your life.

Your life is not something that happens between birth and death.  Life is right here, right now, life is between now and your next breath.  Live each moment in full, accept what you cannot change, change what you can and live without fear and regret.  And do the best you can with what you have in this moment; as long as you are doing the best you can, that is all you can ever expect of anyone, including yourself

2 – A lifetime just isn’t very long.

There are only so many tomorrows. Look at your life and see it for the wonderful gift it is. Ok you may not be a millionaire and ok, there will be things that you want to change but think about how lucky you are, you are alive and well and have the chance to make your life what you want it to be. Never forget to tell people what they mean to you, fight for what is important and stop and think, even if just for a minute. Whatever you want to achieve, make steps towards it TODAY. As I said right at the beginning, there are only so many tomorrows.

3 – The choices you make today will move you towards the life you dream of in the future.

When it comes to working hard to achieve a dream, whatever it is – getting a degree, building a business, any achievement that takes time and commitment, you only have one question you need to ask yourself “Am I willing to live a few years of my life like many people won’t, so I can spend the rest of my life like many people can’t?”. If the answer is yes, use today to take the first step towards your dream.

4 – Your most important relationship is YOU.

A healthy and fulfilling relationship with others can only be achieved if you have a healthy relationship with yourself. You have to see yourself as worthwhile, so that you’ll be able to look confidently into the eyes of the people around you and connect with them in a positive way. Happiness is when you feel good about yourself without feeling the need for anyone else’s approval. Put yourself first and you will be able to give yourself to others more freely.

5 – Behind every beautiful life, there has always been some kind of pain.

Some people look to the outside world like they have it all. Great career, loving family, nice house, the list goes on. Anyone can present a picture to the outside world, just look at Facebook and Instagram! But everyone is human and no-one is perfect, behind every life there will be some pain and suffering. You trip and you fall, you make mistakes and you fail, but you stand strong through it all – you live and you learn. When you have been wounded, you have not been defeated. Think of what a priceless gift it is to grow through these experiences – to breathe, to think, to struggle, and to overcome challenges in the pursuit of what you love. This is why you must keep stepping forward even when it hurts, because you know the inner strength that has carried you this far can carry you the rest of the way.

I hope this has helped you like it helped me.