After a breast cancer diagnosis, as you’re simultaneously experiencing trauma, hurt, and grief, these rituals are even more important. Here are some tips I’ve learned on my own journey that may help you be kinder to yourself as you navigate this difficult experience.
What if you looked at your body with different eyes ones that believed every inch was beautiful and worthy of love? Imagine how different you might feel. At each stage of my journey for the past 5 years, I have taken pictures of my body. Not only does it help me see the power of what I have been through, but it helps me have a great appreciation for all of my healing. So many of us hide from our bodies. We feel shame or embarrassment, and we don’t want to look at the areas of our body we see as imperfections.
The idea is to write to yourself from a point in the future looking back on the moment you are in. Imagine what you would want to hear from your future self and write to yourself in third person. For example, Anna, I am so proud of your strength. You have navigated your cancer treatment with such grace and continued to bring joy to so many others.
Believe in Your Own Worth
You are worthy, and no one can take that away from you. Write that down, keep it on the wall, or set reminders in your phone. Do whatever you need to do to remember that fact — it is essential to your confidence foundation. The more you focus on this statement as fact, the more love you will be able to show to yourself in difficult situations.
Find New Ways to Connect with Your Body
With time, I realized that even if I had that same body back, changed and would never feel the same. I gave up on going back to what once was and instead went down a path of acceptance with my new body. After my mastectomy and chemotherapy, my body had changed. For a long time, I longed for my pre-cancer body. Through exercise, healthy eating, hot yoga, and more I was able to develop new connections with my body. Yes, it had changed, but I came to love it for all it had been through.
Our minds are powerful. When we feel or think something, we innately believe it to be true. But feelings are not facts. Instead of accepting your thoughts and feelings as the truth, stop and question them. Do I have evidence to prove this feeling or thought to be true? If not, it’s just your brain spinning a story. The more you question your negative thoughts, the easier it will become to separate yourself from them. It’s all about facing the feelings head-on and taking away their power
Once you start speaking to yourself like a friend and show yourself some love, you’ll realize your body, mind, and soul are a lot more amazing than you ever realized. You are a cancer warrior and deserve all the self-love in the world.