Look Forward

What is Your Vision for the Future? (And Have You Given Yourself Permission to Have a Vision?)

And now, back to the future…

When you can give up the need to explain the past, and accept the process of change in life, then you can also open up to the future. I am not suggesting that you should put on rose colored glasses and pretend that you aren’t facing a medical condition, or to tell yourself that you can ignore your diagnosis and it will go away. I am not suggesting that you be unrealistic.

But I am encouraging you to consider this: A medical diagnosis is an unexpected detour in the road but it is not the end of the road. That is, unless we choose to view it that way. And I believe this regardless of your diagnosis, whether it will be corrected with treatment, is a long-term, chronic condition, or whether the diagnosis has created a catastrophic situation. I understand that the future may look very different to you when facing these three situations, but I also believe that you can choose hope over despair by accepting the present while opening yourself up to the possibilities of the future. Your future.

How do you begin to create a vision for your future?

* Talk to yourself. Go off on your own so that you can take a look at what’s important to you without any distractions. Evaluate what kind of life you want in the future. Ask yourself what goals have been important to you. And look at what kinds of compromises are possible and those that are not. Even allow yourself the uncertainty of what you don’t know.

* Talk to your healthcare professionals, and learn what it will take for you to stay as healthy as possible. Ask them to tell you the unembellished truth, assuring them you already know you won’t like everything they have to say. Don’t talk to just one expert, talk to a few of them, to make sure you have all the facts.

* Talk to your friends and family. Continue that conversation you started earlier about how you can support each other and not only in relation to your diagnosis. Your diagnosis doesn’t define who you, and your relationships with the people you love, are.

* Talk to your Higher Power. Don’t be afraid to be honest about your fears and your hopes. And expect answers.

And now for the second question: Have you given yourself permission to have a future? Many of my clients have admitted that they are afraid to think about the future because it all seems so bleak. Some are in despair about the lifestyle changes or their medical treatment. They’re afraid their future may be shortened due to their condition. Or, because some believe their diagnosis is their own fault, they don’t think they deserve a future.

* If you are feeling lost in this kind of quandary I recommend that you talk to a therapist or counselor, or a spiritual advisor, who can help you to sort through your beliefs about your diagnosis, and your emotions, and help you to decide what your priorities are as you move forward.

If you have noticed a word that keeps being repeating here, the word is TALK. There are resources all around you. All you have to do is open yourself up to them. You don’t have to go through this alone.

And here are some guidelines to help you answer these questions: