Look Good...Feel Better. This is the name of a fantastic charity that operates in 21 countries worldwide. It is a free service that helps women with cancer fight the visible and often distressing side effects of treatment.
I became acquainted with this charity whilst dancing to the sombre tune of cancer myself just recently. After receiving Radio-Active-Iodine treatment for thyroid cancer my doctor told me that I was entitled to a free skincare and makeup workshop.
It was an extremely touching experience. After we had all arrived, one of the volunteers suggested that we may wish to remove our wigs or hair pieces, not just because it gets very warm in the small room we were sat in but also so that we may see the full benefit of our make-over at the end.
Now I was fortunate, my cancer treatment did not involve hair loss and so I was quite taken a back when, one by one, every woman in the room removed her wig. I get choked whenever I remember that moment. It taught me that whatever horrendous things we face in life, often our imagining them is worse than actually going through them. These women were full of good-humour and grace. Perhaps twelve months previous, these women did not imagine the courage, tenacity and strength that they had within them.
I always remember this marvelous sentence from Professor Daniel Gilbert in Stumbling on Happiness: "When experiences make us feel sufficiently unhappy the psychological system cooks the facts and shifts the blame in order to offer us a more positive view." Great words.
Our psychological defenses can be a powerful weapon in times of adversity. We may not quite appreciate just how much of buttress they are though until we face great challenges.