Skin Cancer and Anger Management
“What Do You Do With the Mad That You Feel?" Mister Fred Rogers Song 1968.
Anger from tanning and skin cancer
I get angry when I see young children who have obviously returned from a beach trip and they are burned and uncomfortable. I get angry when I see people frequenting tanning salons. I get upset when I hear radio advertising playing on people’s self-worth and acceptance in encouraging folks to get the healthy glow in such salons. It is upsetting when popular gyms lure people in by equating healthy eating habits and exercise with the tint of their skin.
I am not happy when old images of me as a child without a shirt on at the local pool or Newport Beach. I get angry with people and the community as a whole when it seems people are ignoring warnings about sun exposure. I was sold a bill of goods that made me feel that my worth was tied up in my appearance, in my tan. I realize now that I was just one person of legions who bought into the same lie and that many are continuing in this today.
Anger from my choices
I get angry with myself in knowing that I was a major contributor to my unsafe skin care practices. No matter how susceptible I was to societal influence, I had choices. I chose to tan and buy into the idea that to look good in photos, I needed tan skin, lots of awesome hair, six-pack abs and pearly white teeth. Things have changed on many accounts. I’m older now and Father Time has taken its toll.
Today, I'm happy in my skin
I know today that I am pretty cool just as I am, without the tan or cut physique and that the person inside this outer shell is what really matters. But sometimes I still feel angry. I am angry at the suffering and hurt this lifestyle has caused so many people and families. I don’t sit in this anger. I let it motivate me.
Turning anger into motivation
This anger serves me. It is like an annoying pebble that gets in your shoe. Eventually, it wears on you enough that you must act. I don’t direct my anger at anyone. I realize that many people are as ignorant as I was. I use this passion to educate others. I focus my emotions in a positive way. I don’t blame my parents for our beach trips as a child. They did not know better. They did their best with the information that they had at the time. It serves no useful place to live I regret. I chose better over bitter. I forgive others and myself.
Redirecting emotions and helping others
That being said, we can do better. If you ever feel the same way, I think redirecting those emotions to positive action is a great therapeutic way to make a difference. I don’t mind diplomatically and sensitively sharing my thoughts with others who may not be informed about the dangers of tanning. My heart is always in a good place. I think that others feel that from me. I just want others to not feel the anger and pain that I have felt. I want good things for others.
Think about ways that you can show love for others by redirecting any regret that you have into positive messages of hope and encouragement. A melanoma diagnosis averted is one of the greatest gifts anyone can receive and you can give.
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