Shasta Nelson GirlfriendCircles breast cancerOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As we celebrate with the survivors and remember those who bravely fought, we come together as girlfriends to remind ourselves and each other about the importance of fighting all women’s cancers.

In this guest blog, SHASTA NELSON (of Girlfriend Circles and author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen) reminds us to work together, to support each other, and to recognize what is most important in our lives.

“Slow down! Don’t do it alone!” the stranger said to me as he passed me on my morning jog. I tried to smile, but what I really thought was: “What kind of a guy has the audacity to tell me what pace to set as though he thinks he’s my coach?”

Then horns began honking, pink pom-poms were everywhere on passing cars and in front of me a group of five women cheered in response. And two more in front of them followed suit. And as those cars made their way down the busy street, small little groups of women, flashes of pink dotting the sidewalk, seemed appreciative of the praise. I looked over my shoulder and quickly realized that my typical exercise route was being shared today with the amazing women participating in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Race for the Cure. I was on their course. I glanced down and chuckled, for unintentionally my outfit was black and pink. He had thought I was one of them.

And I suddenly felt somewhat guilty. Not only for being cheered as though I were steps away from completing the 60 mile, 3-day race when in fact I was simply a girl trying to get a few miles in on a day that otherwise was a lazy Sunday; but also because I had appeared to be a solo jogging dissenter in an event that promoted community and walking.

If Life Could Be…
I crossed the street and spent the rest of my run pondering how amazing life would be if we could model this race:

  • Where who you do it with counts more than how fast you do it.
  • Where in fact, pacing oneself for the long-haul is of higher value than speeding past someone.
  • Where the journey matters more than simply reaching the destination.
  • Where we care more about our health than our appearance (I saw some seriously ‘over-the-top’ outfits today! LOL!)
  • Where slowing down to walk with someone who’s tired is more the purpose than a delay.
  • Where it matters more to us that we “all” make it, not just me.
  • Where strangers feel bonded because of a combined passion for a cause.
  • Where women cheer for each other, rather than compete.
  • Where men look overjoyed to be driving in cars covered in pink, honking for women and their success.

Oh to live in such a world! If it simply sounds like a pie-in-the-sky dream, consider the headlines we’ve all seen from research out of the University of Chicago: Loneliness Heightens Risk of Breast Cancer. While we all feel the pull to do more, be more, and be better than everyone else, a reminder that sometimes just increasing the stress in our lives to be the one jogging up the hill, while everyone else walks in groups, isn’t necessarily success.

Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness!
So this October, as we celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, send your cards celebrating their lives to the women who have survived this disease, and honor the memories of those who didn’t. Wear your pink proudly and buy those products whose proceeds support the awareness and research we still need in this battle. Schedule your mammograms and value your breast health more than your breast size.

But above all, perhaps the wisdom of the stranger who cheered me on this morning might become your mantra this month? Words to be taken seriously: “Slow down! Don’t do it alone!”

SHASTA NELSON (@girlfrndcircles) is a relationship strategist, life coach, author of Friendships Don’t Just Happen, and founder of GirlFriendCircles.com, a womens friendship matching site in 35 cities across the U.S. She blogs weekly at Shasta’s Friendship Blog and for the Huffington Post.

How has cancer impacted you and your female friends / friendships? We’d love a guest blog on this for October. Please share!

For more girlfriend advice on cancer and female friendships, check out these blog posts:

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