OUR BLOG: A MEDICAL HUMANIST'S NOTES

A New Goal: To Thrive

February 13, 2013 at 8:55 pm · filed under family & friends, Patients

In my last post, I asked whether a message of constant “positivity” might be silencing for patients who might need to openly discuss fear, worry, and even death. Then I encountered this piece that seemed to suggest a new angle on “positivity.”

The piece describes a terminally ill patient who approached an alternative practitioner hoping that he could help shepherd her through a “miraculous” survival. But rather than making promises he knew were not within his power to keep, he promised her this: “I don’t know if you will be able to survive this….What I do know is that I can help you squeeze the most out of every moment that remains.” He urged the patient to shift her goal: from “surviving” to “thriving.”

On the subject of sadness, he wrote that they helped identify the sadness she felt as grief arising from her love of life. This change, he said, “gave her full permission in her mind to embrace the sadness, to be with it and experience its richness.”

I’m sharing this piece as a counterpoint to my post on the “Be Positive” campaign and because I think it’s a powerful testament to the benefits of openness—of a “positivity” that allows for a full range of emotion—including the experience of grief and loss. I invite you to read it and share your thoughts…

1 Comment »

  1. I was profoundly affected by Rick Reynold’s piece. I immediately liked the word “thriving” as the way we can choose to move through life (and death). You can “thrive” at any point,even from the most negative diagnosis. “Thrive” has a richness to it, a depth that “survive” doesn’t. A tiny step or shift in our lives can produce a sense of thriving. And, you can thrive even in a melancholy way, which has nothing to do with relentless, and sometimes barren, “positivity”. I am so glad you found this piece, and shared it with us, Celia. Such is the joy of the Internet!

    Anne, Bend, OR

    Comment by Anne Gatling — March 5, 2013 @ 6:09 pm

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