Throughout my life, I have had to deal with many personal hardships that have affected me, each to their own degree. The one personal hardship that clearly sticks out in my mind is my bout with cancer. I was diagnosed at age four with this disease in its third stage of four stages. However, when all odds were against me, I vanquished this disease a year later with the help of God, family, friends, and extraordinary doctors and staff. In writing this, I realize my situation is not unique. Many people have had to battle the war on cancer. Some rose as victorious and others died in glory. However, I find myself to be unique among my brethren. In my cancer free years, I have developed the belief that I will not let my personal hardships define me, I will define myself. By reaching this belief and watching it develop, I feel that I have found a life long conviction
Reaching my personal belief required me to look inward and examine how I truly felt about my hardship. Early on I realized the need to find strength within to fully overcome the disease. My might had to be steadfast in order for me to rise above the situation. I also realized that only half the battle was won when I was pronounced cancer free. Physically I was able to move on, but in order to begin my journey I had to acquire the right mindset. Disciplined mental focus and determination were the keys to reclaiming control of my life. These principles allowed me to deny cancer the right to become my definer. The disease would live on if I were to allow it to get the best of me, a side effect worse than the physical damage it causes. My life was meant to be defined by myself, and I would be a different person if otherwise.
My personal development was instrumental in forming my belief. Over time I became more mature and began to take my stand in the world, fortified by my beliefs. My maturity led me to seek empathy rather than sympathy. It would serve more use and fulfillment for others to understand my situation, besides seeking their pity. I also began to realize that there was more to life than hardship. At four years old, being in a hospital was the only thing I knew. As I grew older I was able to explore more things in life, and actually experience a normal childhood. My growth aided me in forming my belief, thus allowing me to define myself.
By defining myself, I have become a person that I am most satisfied with. I cannot ignore the fact that cancer has left me with certain limitations. However, these limitations are mere physical barriers. They do not define who I truly am. The definition of Brock Anderson Johnson lies within my character. No hardship can break the foundation on which I live my life on.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.