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  • Mindy McCarthy

What's the Point?

This week has been full of downs it seems. Instead of ups and downs, I am having trouble seeing the ups.

The weird part? I am usually very optimistic, but sometimes I just need to have some true down time.

The biggest down this week that I feel was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” was finding out that one of my client’s was officially diagnosed with cancer. I have been working with her for over a year now helping her reach her weight loss goals and to become healthier. Her success has gone far beyond the scale because she has also been able to come off all of her medications including ones that were supposedly managing her diabetes.

Selfishly, this news led me to having my own pity party (as if I was the one who received the diagnosis personally).

I started thinking about how she had worked so hard this past year to get herself healthier and learned to fuel her body properly. She had made some drastic changes with her lifestyle changing the foods that she keeps regularly in her house and changing the times that she is eating as well as the amount that she is eating with each meal.

All of these changes and success still led her to this point: a cancer diagnosis.

Also, I recently heard about a high school athlete whose home life is very unstable with a single parent who is a constant drug user and does not seem to care about the student’s schoolwork or athletic capabilities. This got me thinking about some of the students I used to work with at a Boys and Girls Club where they would have to return home to unstable environments each night.

Coaches, teachers, and staff members work with these kinds of students all over the country every single day. However, these mentors only get a small piece of each of these students’ lives.

With that being said, these down days got me asking myself: what is the point?

My client did everything she could to turn her health around, and she still was diagnosed with cancer. These mentors do everything they can to lead and guide young students, but they still have to return to their unstable home environments.

So, I ask again: what is the point?

Sometimes, we need these moments where we can get lost in thought to really think about the reason behind why we do the things that we do. Talking about these times with someone else is even more helpful.

When I start feeling like this, I begin to search for quotes that can be helpful and return my mind to its usual optimistic thinking. I came across a quote from John Lewis who recently passed away after being a leader in our country as a civil rights activist and Congressman.

He said,

“If you’re not hopeful and optimistic, then you just give up. You have to take the long hard look and just believe that if you’re consistent, you will succeed.”


How true is this.

Be hopeful. Be optimistic. Be consistent. Succeed.

While there are a lot of steps that go into each of those statements, it is hard to be successful if you do not believe it.

I have to believe that the quality of life for my patient this past year has significantly improved and that she has healed her body to be able to stand up to fight this cancer.

I have to believe that teachers, after school care workers, coaches, etc. are making a lasting impact on students who need it the most. They are showing these future leaders that someone believes in them even during the short amount of time that they may be able to spend with them.

During these “Debbie Downer” times, it helps to address things that you can control. I cannot control who gets diagnosed with cancer or the home environments of students all over the country. However, I can control my attitude towards these scenarios. I can control how I care for my client throughout this journey and provide her with positivity to help her heal, especially when it comes to her own mental health and coping mechanisms that she will certainly need. I can control how I work with student athletes no matter what their background is. I can treat them with love and support as well as consistently believe in their capabilities until they believe it themselves.

If you are going through some difficult times right now, what are some things that you can help you remain positive? Are there mantras or quotes that can help? What about someone you can chat with that may be able to help?

Now, refocus your attention on things that you can control. Can you control your emotions and attitude towards the situation?

I am always happy to work with patients on these mental skills that can help them during these times like managing emotions and stress!

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