Forgiveness, Mental Health, & Overcoming Life Challenges
- As Cher, the “Goddess of Pop,” has hit back on rumors about the relationship she has with “Material Girl” singer Madonna, revealed forgiveness played a role in any feud that may have previously existed.
- According to a recent study, an international research team from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that people who had been hurt or offended by someone else and then worked on forgiving that person had reported improved mental health.
- It’s really important to keep tabs on your mental health and, if necessary, seek treatment. This doesn’t necessarily mean traditional therapy because while it may be really helpful (even life-changing) for some, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
- All types of relationships may be difficult at times whether it be a friendship, a romantic relationship, a coworker, or a family member; we want to make sure you know there are resources available to you.
- SurvivorNet has other great mental health resources for you, including more films that will inspire you.
Cher, the legendary singer and actress known as the “Goddess of Pop,” has a new message that resonated with people in the cancer community as getting sick has a way of revealing priorities in life. Cher released her first new album in five years, and “Material Girl” singer Madonna has embarked on her Celebration Tour, Cher has hit back on rumors about her and Madonna’s relationship.Read More
Cher was questioned on the alleged feud between the two musicians as Madonna’s most recent stage performance plays footage from 1991 of the “If I Could Turn Back Time” singer telling American broadcaster Steve Kmetko, “There’s something about her [Madonna] that I don’t like. She’s mean. I don’t like that,” according to People.View this post on Instagram
When asked about the video clip being featured during Madonna’s performance, Cher explained, “I said a lot worse than that [calling her mean]. It’s not a beef. I actually like her. But come on … She can be [mean].
“We buried that hatchet a long time ago because I called her something so much worse, and she forgave me.”
Cher added, “But I give her this – There’s no one like her that had their ear to the ground and knew everything before anybody else. I mean, she knew what was coming, and she was right on it.
“I always felt that was her greatest gift – that she could know the trends before any of us.”
During that 1991 honest interview with Cher, the singer is seen telling Kmetko that there’s “something about her [Madonna] that I don’t like … she’s mean. I don’t like that … She was just so rude to everybody.”
Expert Mental Health Resources
- Mindfulness Pioneer Dr. Deepak Chopra Shares Simple, Healthy Morning Routine: Meditation, A Few Cups of Coffee & Sunday Walks
- Mental Health and Cancer — The Fight, Flight or Freeze Response
- Mental Health: Understanding the Three Wellsprings of Vitality
- Mental Health: Coping With Feelings of Anger
- Learn to Forgive Yourself — Dealing With the Psychological Aspects of Cancer
“It seems to me that she’s got so much that she doesn’t have to act the way that she acts like a spoiled brat all the time,” Cher explained.
“It seems to me when you reach the kind of acclaim that she’s reached and can do whatever you wanna do, you should be a little more magnanimous … ”
However, prior to the 1991 interview clip, Cher told press at a news conference in 1989 that she thinks Madonna is “very talented.”
View this post on Instagram
Additionally, Cher reportedly told a fan during a 2013 Reddit AMA that she “never hated” Madonna, adding, “I just thought she was a b–ch. Actually I quite respect her.”
“Actually I think Madge might be one of the most amazing artists I’ve known. I don’t like everything she does, for sure, but she is always riding the crest of the wave,” Cher said. “She always saw trends way before anyone else, and had great videos.”
Forgiveness Is Key For Mental Health
We’re very pleased to hear that Cher is on good terms with Madonna. Cher opening up about how she feels about her fellow musician comes shortly after a study was published about forgiveness correlating with mental health.
According to a recent study, an international research team from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that people who had been hurt or offended by someone else and then worked on forgiving that person had reported improved mental health.
The researchers studied more than 4,500 adults, from Colombia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Africa, and Ukraine, by having them complete “self-directed exercises in a forgiveness workbook.”
Overall, participants were said to have reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety just two weeks after starting the workbook, in comparison to those who didn’t receive the workbooks.
The study explains: “A brief self-directed workbook intervention was effective at promoting forgiveness and reducing depression and anxiety symptoms and could be used as a supplemental therapeutic and preventative approach to improve global mental health.”
Mental Health: The Basics
The term mental health refers to both our emotional and psychological well-being. Our mental health can affect how we think, feel, and behave.
Certain triggers like stress, traumatic events, change in your physical health, or even a major disagreement with a family member, or someone working in a similar field as you, like the Cher and Madonna, can affect mental health.
It’s really important to keep tabs on your mental health and, if necessary, seek treatment. This doesn’t necessarily mean traditional therapy because while it may be really helpful (even life-changing) for some, that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
Problems with mood and overall mental well-being can be attributed to several factors. For some people, it’s genetic, while others may be experiencing a response to some sort of stressor or past trauma.
In order to keep your mental health in check, it’s important to be aware of signs, which can be subtle, that there is something affecting your mind. These signs include:
- A change in eating or sleeping habits
- Losing interest in people or usual activities
- Experiencing little or no energy
- Numb and/or hopeless feelings
- Turning to drinking or drugs more than usual
- Non-typical angry, upset, or on-edge feelings
- Yelling/fighting with loved ones
- Experiencing mood swings
- Intrusive thoughts
- Trouble getting through daily tasks
These symptoms can be wide-ranging and vary a great deal from person to person. Everyone experiences grief differently, for example.
However, if you are feeling unusually sad, on edge, or like you’re no longer interested in activities you used to love, know that there are many treatment options available and many different healthy ways to help you cope.
Vulnerability & Learning Acceptance
For some people, mental health struggles may manifest themselves as feelings of anger. Dr. William Breitbart, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, says that anger is to go-to response for some when they feel they have fallen short, or will fall short, of some life goal.
This anger and frustration may arise from a new challenge, a perceived failure, or just general feelings of hopelessness. Dr. Breitbart explained that one way professionals can help those dealing with these feelings is to encourage them to accept themselves the way they are only human.
“The last resort of relieving existential guilt is this act of being able to forgive yourself for being a human being that is vulnerable and susceptible to not being able to fulfill their full potential. So, it’s forgiveness ultimately,” he explains.
Mindfulness & Meditation
For some people, learning how to slow life down and live in a certain moment can have great benefits for mental health. Mindfulness is the feeling of being fully present in the moment. And when it comes to meditation, there’s a great deal of scientific research that shows it can be really helpful for people facing some sort of challenge.
Acclaimed author and pioneer of the mindfulness movement Deepak Chopra told SurvivorNet in a previous conversation that a big step in taking charge of mental health is understanding what stress does to our bodies.
“Stress is nothing other than the perception of threats,” Dr. Chopra said. “Whether it’s real or imagined doesn’t matter. You perceived stress emotionally or you imagine a super stressful, threatening situation, it doesn’t matter. It will create the same biological responses, compromising your immune system to basically offset its fine-tuning and also increasing inflammation.”
Recognizing where this stress comes from can help in the healing process for some.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin previously told SurvivorNet that sometimes, anxiety is caused by questions we ask ourselves and feel, or fear, we don’t have the answers to. If you are really struggling, a therapist may be able to help you find answers to your internal questions, and learn tactics to cope with the ones you can’t answer.
“How often are you checking in with your anxiety?” Dr. Strongin asked. “Where do you feel it in your body? And what are the questions that it’s asking you? Is it asking you, is everything going to be OK? What’s happening? Will I survive? Now, the second most important thing is, are you providing it some answers? The answers are our coping skills.”
When a stressful life event occurs, people may react with a range of different (and quickly changing) emotions – which is completely normal.
“The way people respond is very variable,” Psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik tells SurvivorNet. “Very much consistent with how they respond to stresses and challenges in their life in general.”
“People have a range of emotions when they’re diagnosed with cancer,” Dr. Plutchik explains. “And they can include fear, anger â€¦ and these emotions tend to be fluid. They can recede and return based on where someone is in the process. Going through a cancer diagnosis is just the beginning of a complicated, complicated process.”
Dr. Plutchik explains that the patient, or person going through a stressful event, should accept that emotions will be fluid. You may feel fine one day and then feel a massive wave of stress the next. It’s also important for those you look to for support, whether that’s a therapist, friends and family, or both, to understand the fluidity of stress-related emotions.
If a stressful event is affecting how you think and feel, it may be time to seek some sort of mental health treatment. This could mean traditional talk therapy, medication, changing lifestyle habits (like exercise and diet), seeking out a support group, or many other approaches.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What can I do if my emotions begin to feel overwhelming?
- Are there approaches that don’t involve traditional therapy?
- Should I consider medication such as antidepressants?
- What are the potential side effects should I decide to begin medication?
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff