Support: What We Need Most When Life Is Sabotaged, Part II

07/16/2012 06:11 pm ET | Updated Sep 15, 2012

The second blog in a three-part series.

In the first blog of this three-part series, I asked, "What threatens to sabotage your life at this very moment?" Being forced to face any life-changing event or condition can threaten to sabotage life as we know it. Those of you not facing a major illness, but suffering serious stresses brought on by other life situations such as making a difficult decision or critical choice, conflicts at your workplace, financial or legal concerns, can also feel sabotaged.

Remember, stress threatens your health and anything that threatens your health, threatens to sabotage your life. Don't allow it! Instead, take charge of your life and your choices and make the changes necessary to improve your lifestyle (thereby improving your health), regardless of what others think.

At some point in each of our lives, there can be a time when the undesired, unplanned or even unthinkable swoops in and knocks the wind out of our sails, threatening to rob us of everything we cherish. During these times, the support of others plays a vital role in helping us to get through the situation, to survive and come out stronger on the other side!

Unfortunately, there will always be those who do not have such support. Whether surrounded by family and friends or living all alone with few contacts, whether wealthy or poor -- no matter one's status in life, support and encouragement can be missing when needed most. My hope is that this series might educate and enlighten, enabling all those reading to understand how important it is for each of us to come to the aid of one another, offering our support as we become aware of the need.

If you are looking for support from others and feel that you are not getting it, consider that others may not be aware of your need. For instance, those who choose a proactive approach to maintaining their current good health probably appear quite healthy and fit. They may look great and be full of energy -- so announcing their choice to make a macrobiotic diet part of their lifestyle may seem like "just another thing they do." But, their need for support and the potential threats to their success in maintaining this healthy eating practice are just as real as they are for those choosing a plant-based diet out of desperation due to major illness.

In 1999, after being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, I was told by doctors that my cancer would most likely come back within a year in the same spot -- even with conventional treatment (most of which I underwent). I knew I needed to do more to prevent this from happening. I believe in cause-and-effect, so when I learned that others had become remarkably healthier by adopting a macrobiotic diet, I was convinced to do the same. I believed that if others could physically recover by implementing this plant-based way of eating into their daily lives, I could too.

I was determined to make this drastic change for the sake of my health and I pretty much took the lead. I had determined to live and that meant major change. My family more or less followed, albeit with some grumbling and resentment along the way, but their reasons for eating this way were not the same as mine. Believe me, it's hard work to change what you eat and develop the cooking skills necessary to make such a major change work, so when your family gripes and grumbles, it makes it that much harder to do it.

We all tend to fear what we do not know and cannot understand. When an idea doesn't make sense to us, we are more likely to reject it. I knew that if I was to get the support from others that I needed, I had to take the lead. I had to educate myself on the macrobiotic diet and what it could do for me and then share what I learned with those whose support mattered. I had to ask for their support and then help them to understand why I needed it to succeed.

You deserve to be respected and supported -- but you may also need to come right out and ask for it. If you are determined to change these unhealthy patterns of behavior in your own life, then the first step is to do it! PERIOD! Next, plan a good time to sit down and ask your spouse for his or her support. Later on, do the same with other immediate family members and friends. This small but huge step is vital to getting the support you desire and need. It may be uncomfortable at first, but stretching past this discomfort and changing this pattern of your behavior will increase your rate for success in every step going forward toward your goal, whether healing or maintaining your present health. And as your family and friends see what you are capable of doing, chances are they will be inspired toward their own growth and success in choosing what is healthy.

For those of you who find yourselves expected to play a supportive role, whether due to a life-changing illness or a choice based on preventative measures, your role is more important than you may ever know, and there are many easy ways to show your support for the one choosing a healthier lifestyle. To support the one who is choosing a plant-based diet, for example, offer to chop up the vegetables -- which are the common denominator in their way of eating. Even if you choose to continue to eat chicken and dairy while your loved one eats beans and rice, you can both enjoy eating the vegetables. Find common ground and agree to live there!

Verbally acknowledging that he or she is doing a great job with what they believe is helping them to regain (or maintain) their health doesn't take much -- and it is the support they so desperately need. It is what keeps them going toward that goal of glowing health. And for those who are seriously ill -- it is their ticket back to life!

In my third and final post of this series, I share the success stories of others struggling with the need for support and offer tips on how you can get what you need most when life is sabotaged along the journey to Becoming Whole.

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