Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 25

INTIMATE ISSUES WITH MARLOE

Sexuality

Cancer is not just life-changing; it can be body-altering as well. We lose body parts to surgery and
our hair with chemo. We acquire scars, develop lymphedema and experience weight fluctuations.
We might have to get used to prostheses, ostomy devices or central venous catheters. And while
some of these changes to our appearance are easily noticed, other things may not be as obvious
to outsiders. For example, perhaps you have persistent fatigue, chemo brain, chronic pain or
neuropathies. Or maybe you're dealing with symptoms of premature menopause, or your fertility
has been impacted. But no matter how easily seen or how invisible, any of these alterations in
how our bodies look, feel and function can affect our body confidence.
As cancer survivors, we often feel dissatisfied with our physical appearance. We report embarrassment,
lower self-esteem and feeling less attractive and less desirable than our peers without cancer. These
attitudes matter! How we relate to our image in the mirror influences the connections we have with
others, including our romantic relationships. Our interest in being sexual is closely associated with
how we feel about our bodies. If we are uncomfortable with or self-conscious about certain features,
it can be really hard to share those parts of ourselves with another person, and to experience pleasure
and satisfaction in doing so.
Growing body confidence after cancer requires not only coming to an acceptance of the
changes we've endured, but also finding ways to appreciate and celebrate what we are capable
of. There is no quick fix for bruised body confidence. It takes time to heal and get used to
some of the changes that occur with cancer. But we are inhabiting the only body we will ever
have, and it's definitely worth the effort to work toward making peace and finding joy in it.
So, where can we begin?

10 STEPS TO BUILDING BODY CONFIDENCE

other words, people with positive body image
choose to be happy with what they've got, no
matter what it is!
This is the power of perception at work.
The mental image we carry with us about
what we think we look like encompasses
so much more than what can be captured
on camera or in the mirror. We scrutinize
ourselves through a lens that is tinted with
the emotional context of our experiences,
and we interpret what we see based on how
we feel about it. Perception is a powerful
thing, and we can learn to use it to change
how we feel about what we see.
For example... 
3. UTILIZE THE FRIEND LENS

1. GIVE YOUR BODY EVERY
OPPORTUNITY FOR HEALING
AND HEALTH

you enjoy can help you feel accomplished,
by shifting your focus from what your body
looks like to what it can do.
2. HARNESS THE POWER OF
PERCEPTION

What's good for your physical health is also
good for your mental (and sexual!) health.
Exercise can combat fatigue and weight fluctuations, increase muscle tone and boost your
mood. Eating balanced, nutrient-rich foods
provides sustainable energy (versus the less
reliable, caffeine-fueled kind...) and helps
control weight changes. Getting enough
sleep can improve your ability to deal with
stress and other challenging emotions in a
constructive way. And pursuing hobbies that

Our body image is based on how we feel about
the way our body looks and functions, as well
as our thoughts on how others perceive us.
Interestingly, it appears that body confidence
is not so much based on possessing certain
" ideal " physical traits. Rather, it seems to
be related to believing that the traits you do
possess are valuable and acceptable, regardless of whether they fit the ideal or not. In

If your bestie confided in you that they were
feeling really down about some aspect of
their post-cancer body, what would you say
to them? Chances are, you'd have an honest,
compassionate response. You would probably acknowledge the changes they've gone
through as being really hard. You might
remind them that they are not their cancer,
and list some examples of what makes them
a beautiful human and a great friend.
Now, how often do you react in a similarly
caring way when confronted with your own
perceived imperfections or shortcomings?
Typically, we are much less likely to extend
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2020

25


https://www.elephantsandtea.com/wellness/eat-drink-and-be-healthy/ http://www.elephantsandtea.com

Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 3
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 4
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 5
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 6
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 7
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 8
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 9
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 10
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 11
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 12
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 13
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 14
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 15
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 16
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 17
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 18
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 19
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 20
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 21
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 22
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 23
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 24
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 25
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 26
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 27
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 28
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 29
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 30
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 31
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 32
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 33
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 34
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 35
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 36
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 37
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 38
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 39
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 40
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 41
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 42
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 43
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 44
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 45
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 46
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 47
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 48
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 49
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 50
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 51
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 52
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover3
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com