The Queen of My Self


By Joyce Rothman

Low self esteem and the desperate need for approval has plagued me since childhood. Never thinking I was enough, surely everyone else knew better than me what I should do or how I needed to act. Or so I thought.

It took cancer to change my perspective and now my decisions are less often based on what other people think. Living life with this diagnosis has resulted in knowing and trusting myself so much more. With trust comes self confidence and the strength to reject another’s negative judgment. I see myself in a new brighter light that I can now turn on without first needing to wait for someone else’s approval.

I never would have thought that cancer would empower me to live my life in a way that takes a lot of angst away. I realize that it is mine to learn from and make decisions for, not anyone else’s; as much as they are to live their own and do the same. Besides, how could I know what is best for another when I’ve not had their unique experience? Even though there is much in common that we do share, we are each our own person. I find that I’m getting much better at learning to not judge others too and these are truly gifts of the highest kind.

Surprisingly, cancer is giving me freedom from self-doubt and fear and blessing me with self-confidence and contentment. It lets me be me so I can finally live as I choose. It occurs to me that I am actually learning how to complete myself and it feels pretty good.

Facing a major illness separates much of the small stuff from what is truly important I’m getting the courage to stand up for what I believe is right for me. I’m also living more into the moment because I know that if I’m thinking about the future, I miss out on enjoying what I do have now. Yes, it is amazing that cancer is giving me such important life lessons and allowing me to live with more self-love and authenticity than I ever thought possible. For this, I am so very grateful.

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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


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