Health Care Dialogue
BY KIM S. HWANG, PsyD
AAP staff columnist
ST. PAUL (April 28, 2013) — If at first you don’t succeed . . . Race for the Cure!
After a seven-month leave of absence, I’m returning to the Health Dialogue with new energy and excitement. This week, the healthcare dialogue is based on a personal story of hope and inspiration. I am excited to return to the reader’s questions next week.
In the last couple of months, I’ve encountered a broad range of surprising, positive and personal experiences. On the heels of several perceived challenges, the kindness of others motivated me to create some personal goals. The kindness from others reminded me to never underestimate the power of healthy and positive relationships.
Great relationships definitely help to mediate and reduce stress. In fact, most social psychologists support theories that upbeat relationship connections create wonderful frameworks and spaces to mend. Connections create contexts that allow people to heal, refuel, transcend and thrive.
I have been blessed with amazing support. Therefore, I am choosing to participate in the, 2013 “The Race For the Cure Event,” which raises funds for breast cancer research. This 60-mile walk/race represents a myriad of ways that supportive relationships are able to qualitatively and substantially transform lives and affect positive change!
Social learning theorists and psychologists profess that people grow and improve their quality of life through healthy and intimate relationships. When connected to loyal and committed bonds, humans do better. Loving and caring relationships remind people to have faith, when maintaining hope feels virtually impossible.
William Edward Hickerson stated, “Tis a lesson you should heed: Try, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, Try, try again.” Fortunately, optimistic and happy friends help us navigate through challenges until we are able to conquer hard times independently. Supportive networks increase the likelihood that we will, “Try again,” especially when we’re exhausted and worn out.
On March 30th, I made a commitment to participate in the, “Race For the Cure Event” that will take place on August 22nd through 24th.
I’m choosing to walk based on my relationship with a special person. The person I know always, “Tries and tries” again. “The Race For the Cure,” models a continued and unrelenting pursuit of, “Keep on keepin on!” The Susan G. Komen foundation is committed to research, until a cure for breast cancer is discovered. The special person that I’m thinking of is much like this effort. She tries really hard. She understands the special place that women have in society. She courageously works to increase the quality of lives for so many people. She walks with others through trying times and does so with the empathy and compassion of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Therefore, my decision to participate in, “The Walk For the Cure,” was based on the help and support that I have received from others and this very special person. I do not believe that I am doing anything magnanimous. But since she has inspired me to elevate my goals and commit to a process of trying, I want to be apart of something where I’m making a similar effort. She is undoubtedly able to maintain high hope, even in the face of fatigue.
Currently, her mother is fighting cancer, as well as others she works with. The central role she plays in the lives of women who are fighting cancer is truly awe inspiring and respectfully nuanced! She leads with her heart, which make others want to naturally follow. She provides an emotional and psychological buoy to people when times are tough. She is able to help others deal with day in and day out realities and negative symptoms related to cancer. She possesses a generosity of spirit that is highly contagious and exudes an enthusiasm for the life, which helps people to live fully.
While most people feel dilapidated by the ongoing and relentless wear of chronic health care issues, she’s able to help humans organize their lives around hope and faith. I know this is true, because she has done so with me. The magnitude of her servitude with and for others has inspired me to do something small in return to express my deep gratitude to her. Therefore, walking in, “The Race For the Cure,” is my Thank You to her and for all that she’s done. I know that breast cancer research is a cause close to her personal and professional heart.
While, I do not have cancer or haven’t had anyone close to me with cancer, I often hear, “So and so was diagnosed with cancer.” The woman I know reminds me that each of us has within us an ability to do something more than nothing.
There are simply times when we can’t do parts of our lives alone. We need to reach out. It’s powerful! Reaching out through trying times helped me remember that when we receive, we get to give back. This is a marvelous gift. Through interpersonal relationships and interrelatedness, kind acts and uplifting spirits make a difference. It’s not about the scale of difference or the perceived magnitude of contribution. It’s that the contribution you make has some meaning. Each day, we can rise towards goals and through this we become more.
There is a range of reasons we walk. We walk to move from point A to point B. We walk to increase physical activity or spend time with friends. We walk our dogs and pets. We walk because we are able bodied enough to walk. We walk along the side of friends who are on emotional journeys. We walk up and down grocery store isles to purchase food for our families. We walk children to school. We walk in the shoes of others to understand lived experiences. We walk with each other in ways that are meaningful.
In August, I will attempt to walk with two women I met randomly at the March 30th, “Race For the Cure” meeting. They were gracious and allowed me to join their team, Farche Wilcox and Sherellia Williams (both work at 3M in Woodbury, Minnesota). Even in the context of these new relationships, I have received a lot of tremendous support.
On April 1st, I began training for the 60-mile walk by following a strict training schedule. I find the exercise regimen extremely challenging. Similar to some Minnesotans, I consider myself a seasonal athlete. Even though it’s a stretch, every time I’m in pain or in a state of discomfort, I remind myself of my special relationship with Farche’ and Shereliia who inspire me to keep training and to keep trying.
Seeking support and building relationships continues to teach me that a big part of living is giving back. The special person in my life reminded me that my focus was too narrow during some of the challenges I had experienced. Her perspective helped to broaden my worldview. She helped me to understand that relationships empower us if we choose to let them in. Her incredible, natural and true abilities to demonstrate love, care and respect touched me.
The power of human connections, are reminiscent of the proverb, “If at first we don’t succeed, we must try, try again.” Fill your life with healthy and supportive people. Walk through your life with an open heart. Obtain support through difficult times. Receive. Give. Learn as much from failing as success, so you’ll rejuvenate and, “Try Again!”