I dislike that word immensely when it is used to suggest that it is not acceptable. We do more harm to ourselves by putting that connotation upon our thoughts and actions.
Sickness, struggles and dying are a natural part of life. If we call that negative, then we are negating ourselves and all of humanity for experiencing them.
It is okay to say that cancer sucks.
It's okay to say the pain (physical as well as mental) is unbearable.
It's okay to say, "I'm afraid".
It's okay to say, it is time to call hospice.
It's okay to say the truth of what you are feeling without any shame, remorse or guilt. When other people judge us as being too negative about our cancer experience because we aren't fighting hard enough, or succeeding in being healed, they don't know what they're talking about, even if they are our nearest and dearest beloved one.
The worst thing anyone ever said to me during the times when I was barely hanging on, was "If only you believe it, you will be healed!" Not only was it unkind, but damaging.
It made me question whether I had a right to survive, because maybe, I was not trying hard enough, not doing it right, not keeping myself positive, not praying hard enough.
When I see people I care about struggle with these concepts I cringe. Dealing with the diagnosis, and bearing the treatments is enough for us to experience the totally of our humanity.
When we are in the pit of despair, it is okay to say it out loud. "I am in the pit of despair."
"I don't know what else to do."
"I'm not giving up. I'm just facing reality."
Keeping the "negative" feelings stifled is like a cancer in itself.
Shedding myself of these beliefs gave me the right to live whatever life I was to have in freedom. I was released from worrying about other people's judgment on how I was coping with my cancer, and relieved of the guilt I felt that somehow I deserved the cancer, that somehow I wasn't doing things right. That I was wrong to my core.
Once I accepted it's okay for me to voice my personal feelings, first to myself, then to others, whether they agreed or not, that heavy cloud of self-doubt disappeared. Accepting my real feelings, understanding them as a natural part of life, just like falling in love and giving birth, the sun shining and rain falling from the sky is what helped me to cast off the concept of judging myself for what I was experiencing.
I have had four people in my personal life, who have dealt with cancer in the past few years. One of them died. She fought for her life valiantly, and she was very good at expressing her emotions, whether anyone thought she was being negative or not.
And I daresay, anyone who could possibly believe that one dies of cancer because of expressing one's true feelings will one day understand the error of their judgment, if they should happen to be diagnosed themselves.
I like this definition of Negative:
Electrical polarity (positive and negative) is present in every electrical circuit. Electrons flow from the negative pole to the positive pole. In a direct current (DC) circuit, one pole is always negative, the other pole is always positive and the electrons flow in one direction only.
Both are needed for the circuit to be complete, to be whole, to flow.
Those who attain perfect wisdom are forever inspired by the conviction that the infinitely varied forms of this world, in all their relativity, far from being a hindrance and a dangerous distraction to the spiritual path, are really a healing medicine.
Why? Because by the very fact that they are interdependent on each other and therefore have no separate self, they express the mystery and the energy of all-embracing love. Not just the illumined wise ones but every single being in the interconnected world is a dweller in the boundless infinity of love.
From "Buddha Speaks,"
edited by Anne Bancroft, 2000.