‘Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage,’ Lao Tzu said. The old Chinese sage knew about love.
Love heals. That is the simplest way to put it. Friends help us heal. Kindness heals. Kindness, they say, is love with its work boots on. The experience of being surrounded by love, family and friends who care about you, and the kindness of strangers—including doctors and other healers who care for you—is for many an awesomely powerful experience.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage,” Lao Tzu said. The old Chinese sage knew about love.
When you are hurt, or frightened, or your world has turned upside down, nothing is more healing than love. Being loved and loving are among the greatest gifts of life. Love tells us we are not alone.
For those fortunate enough to have family members who are an authentic source of love and support, that is a special gift.
Friends are a powerful source of love and support. Even one true friend to whom you can say anything without feeling judged. Someone who will stay with you, come what may.
Support groups or healing circles can be extraordinarily sources of love and support. They enable you to share experiences in confidence with others who are going through the same thing. Some support groups are well facilitated while others devolve into places where people complain about their care. A badly run support group or healing circle can be actively unhelpful. If it doesn’t feel truly healing, it’s a good sign to look elsewhere.
When we need help, it’s not just family, friends and support groups. It’s the support of a community of those around us that can make a real difference. You may be surprised at who shows up to offer care and support.
Romantic new love, seasoned old love, love of family, love of friends. They each help. They help most all together.
Love of a pet can be so healing. A dog’s love is unconditional.
Sometimes love and support comes from a sense of connection with the mystery, with nature, or with the cosmos—whatever you call it.
It’s interesting to discover who steps back and who steps forward when we are in a difficult medical situation. Many people feel bereft when a partner steps back because they can’t deal with a medical situation. It’s a very hard thing. But others may step forward when a partner can’t or won’t. We learn a lot about partners as well.
Can we love ourselves? For some people that’s not hard. For others it can be one of the hardest things. The Dalai Lama says “you can search the whole world and not find someone as deserving of your love and support as yourself.”
How open are we to receiving love and support? Or to reaching out to ask for support when we need it?
There is a poem by Raymond Carver called “Late Fragment.”
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
That seems to me to say it all. To call ourselves beloved, to feel ourselves beloved on earth, is, for me, all I can ask for.
Wishing you well,
Sharing Love and Support at a glance
The ancient gift of being together and caring for each other in community is called “social support” in the healthcare world. The National Cancer Institute’s Dictionary of Cancer Terms defines social support as “a network of family, friends, neighbors, and community members that is available in times of need to give psychological, physical, and financial help.”
Medical groups and many integrative oncology experts recognize the value of social support for people with cancer.
Evidence affirms the medical benefits of social support, including better survival, better body terrainthe internal conditions of your body, including nutritional status, fitness, blood sugar balance, hormone balance, inflammation and more, lower risk of cancer, less severe side effects of treatment, and better quality of life.
Tips and suggestions for developing your support circle include drawing from the strengths of different people and recognizing their limitations. Some people are at higher risk of isolation due to cultural or communication barriers. Social supports may need to adjust to give access to all.
Many online and virtual social support programs are available for people with cancer.
Online discussion forums
For young adults
We emphasize that Sharing Love and Support by itself will not prevent, cure, or control cancer. Like every other therapy or practice included on this website, Sharing Love and Support is one component of an individualized integrative plan rather than a stand-alone therapy.