My ex-boyfriend has taught me several lessons that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life.

I recently ended my five-year relationship with my ex-boyfriend, who survived stage four cancer, but the memories we shared inspired me to be a kinder person. I will forever carry those lessons in my heart as I continue my life’s journey as a young woman trying to find her way.

My ex-boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer as a teenager, but I didn’t meet him until we were both 18 years old. We found each other online, fell in love, and started to date long-distance.

Here are five of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned from dating a cancer survivor:

1. Embrace every moment of your life

My ex-boyfriend is the type of person who embraces his life to the best of his ability. Despite his limitations that his colon cancer brings, he doesn’t hate the world. Although he has every reason to cry, he always smiles, no matter what doctors predict about his condition. He’s taught me that I should smile, even though I face petty problems.

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2. Always keep fighting

Throughout my relationship with my ex, there were several times when doctors told us to prepare for the worst. When we first started dating, doctors told my ex-boyfriend that he had six months to live. When he told me the sad news, I cried, but he looked at me and said, “Why the world are you crying? Those doctors ain’t God! I’ll be just fine.”

My ex taught me that no matter what life throws at you, you should never lose the fight in you.

My ex taught me that no matter what life throws at you, you should never lose the fight in you

3. Never be angry at the world

Someone in my ex-boyfriend’s shoes has every right to be angry and bitter at the world, but my ex isn’t mad at all. He’s always giving to others and finding ways to help them as he shares his journey with cancer.

4. Never hold grudges

Believe it or not, despite our break-up, my ex-boyfriend still speaks kindly of me. Recently, after two months of silence, he said, “You know, I could never stay mad at you for long. I’ll never forget you, and you will always have a special place in my heart. Truth be told, I don’t know if I have much longer, and if I were to go tomorrow, I’d just want to tell you that you should keep going after your dreams.

My ex-boyfriend could’ve easily still been mad at me because we broke up, but he taught me that everyone deserves a second chance. You should forgive everyone, no matter what they’ve done to you, because you never know when your last chance will be.

5. Always be humble and kind

My ex-boyfriend truly exemplifies Tim McGraw’s song, Always Be Humble and Kind. He’s always cared about others and stayed grounded. Despite his health battle, my ex is a volunteer firefighter, motivational speaker, and everybody’s hometown hero. Still, he never lets his local fame go to his head.

He’s taught me that no obstacle is too great to beat; we just have to keep on fighting.

My ex-boyfriend has taught me several lessons that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life. I wish my ex-boyfriend the best in life, and he will always have a special place in my heart.

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