Say it with us: Progress is not linear.

Posted: August 31, 2021







Mental Health


Although as humans, we tend to think it is. Whether it’s progress related to our overall being (healthy vs. sick), body image (skinny vs. fat), emotions (happy vs. sad) or any other dichotomy, it just doesn’t work that way. 

In reality, things aren’t always black and white, and there is so much value and personal growth to be found in the grey areas. 

You (and everyone you know) might wish that you could just “get well soon” and be the person you were before cancer. Whether you see it as a blessing or a curse, though, you can’t. You are transforming into a whole new person. And that will take some getting used to for not only you, but the buds around you, too. 

When it comes to cancer treatment and recovery, it’s not always easy to focus on the bigger picture and remember that it’s all part of your journey through the process. Every person’s road to recovery takes a different path, but we’ve all got one thing in common.

No one ever goes from sick to healthy in a straight line. 

You will have good days, and you will have bad days. And within those days? Good moments and bad moments. Through it all, keep your eyes on your true north – your light at the end of the damn tunnel. Having a bad day doesn’t make it a bad life. When you experience setbacks – whether it’s a scan with less-than-stellar news, or a side effect that you never expected – don’t negate the progress you’ve already made. 

You have come so far.  “You can be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.” 

When it gets hard to remember that, these tricks can help:

Take in a fresh perspective. 

Consider this piece from Amanda, Cancer Thriver and author of This Art Called Life: 

“But when it comes to life, the only end point that truly exists is death. So if we reach a point where we stop growing, we stop living and begin to simply exist. Simply existing is not living. It is a life unfulfilled; a life not truly lived. Once we let go of the notion that one day we might figure it out or achieve the ideal of perfection – another unattainable endpoint – then we can truly allow ourselves to live.” -LIFE (IM)PERFECTION: LETTING GO OF PERFECTION AND EMBRACING THE MASTERPIECE IN PROGRESS.

Another short and sweet perspective shift is Progress Over Perfection. While Amy M. Charland is speaking to health in general here, she explains how this mindset can encourage you to keep going. Perfectionism, she says, interferes with meeting your health goals by hindering new ideas and encouraging self-criticism. Meanwhile, celebrating progress – however small – can motivate you to keep moving forward. A more optimistic outlook encourages a mindset of learning, not failure.

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