What Do I Do Now? - 113

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EMOTIONAL HEALTH /// CHAPTER 71
Practicing Acceptance:
Work to learn how to accept your body exactly as it is today.
Your body looks, feels, and functions the way it does today
for many reasons, some of which are out of your control. It's
hard work fighting to reject these things we cannot change
(at least at this moment); the other option is to work to
begin to accept them. This does not mean that you do not
want your body to be different than it is - it simply means
you are willing to notice and accept it in this moment with
all its imperfections and limitations. Practicing acceptance
is not easy and often takes a long time; we are never done
" accepting. "
Other ideas that may help you cope with changes to your
appearance and refocus on things (physical and mental) that
you can control:
» Emphasize the other aspects of your appearance that you
find more desirable and focus your attention on making
those stand out.
» Identify personal characteristics other than the changes
in your physical appearance that make up your identity.
» Have a makeover. Experiment with a new look. A new
wig or hat, some makeup or some clothes to fit your new
size might make you look good again - even if you don't
feel it.
» Try to focus on other things that will give you confidence
besides the way you look. You may want to take pride in
your positive outlook. Or think of the amount of love and
support you are receiving from those around you.
Your medical providers may not ask
you about how you are adjusting to
changes in your appearance, and you
may feel embarrassed to bring this up,
but let them know so they can support
you. If your distress is high, you may
benefit from speaking with a mental
health provider about your concerns
and how to navigate them.
» Consider how much of your values are different from
your appearance and/or physical performance. Also
notice the role your body plays in helping you pursue
your values. Are you able to continue pursuing your
values with the body you have now?
» Talk about it. Your family and friends may not realize
how much the change to your appearance is worrying
you.
» Try to treat your body with respect. It's already been
through hell and back. Eat healthy foods, get enough
sleep, and only exercise as much as your body can
handle.
» Hang out with the right people - people that make you
feel good and accept you for the way you are.
» Keep in mind that if people stare and ask annoying
questions, they must not understand cancer or what
you are going through. Depending on how you feel at
the time, you could take it as an opportunity to educate
them, or maybe you can come up with some creative
comebacks?
» We know it's a cliché, but try to remember that you are
the same person and that your personality, interests, and
talents are still there. Underneath all of the changes, you
are still you!
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What Do I Do Now?

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