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Healing Process: Learn to Listen to Yourself

Facing a serious diagnosis is a life-altering experience that often prompts a journey of healing, both physically and emotionally. One aspect of this healing process that is frequently overlooked is the profound impact it can have on one's relationship with their own body, particularly concerning sexuality. In this blog post, we'll explore the stages of the healing process, from making friends with your body to accepting changes, addressing body dysmorphic issues, and ultimately choosing yourself. The key to this journey lies in the art of listening to yourself, being gentle and kind, and fostering curiosity about your evolving identity.

Sexuality During and After a Serious Diagnosis

A serious diagnosis can significantly impact one's sexual identity. This doesn’t necessarily mean how someone identifies, but more how someone sees themself as a sexual being. Physical and emotional challenges are likely to arise, leading to a shift in how individuals perceive and engage with their own sexuality. It's crucial to recognize that these changes are a natural part of the healing process. Seek open communication with your healthcare team, and if comfortable, involve your partner in discussions about maintaining intimacy and exploring new ways to connect. Understanding that your sexuality is a fluid aspect of your identity can pave the way for adapting and embracing changes as they come.

Making Friends with Your Body

The healing process often requires a deep connection with your body. Instead of viewing it as a challenge, approach it with curiosity and a desire to understand its needs. Nurture a positive relationship by practicing self-care rituals, such as gentle exercises, mindfulness, and proper nutrition. Listen to your body's cues and be aware of its limitations. By making friends with your body, you create a foundation for healing and self-acceptance.

Grieving the Changes

Acknowledging and grieving the changes your body undergoes is a crucial step in healing. Whether the changes are physical or emotional, allow yourself the space to process what your new body is like. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who can provide a safe environment for expressing your thoughts and feelings. Grieving is a personal journey, and recognizing that it's okay to mourn the loss of aspects of your pre-diagnosis self is essential for your healing journey. On the MOJO Rising Podcast, Kristen D'Amato, founder of Come to Life, said:

"There's all these different's really important to mark them and allow yourself to feel the emotions around them and all yourself to grieve."

D'Amato stresses that no matter how big or small the shift, it is significant if you feel changed. Giving yourself permission to adapt to your new self is crucial and will help you move forward in many areas of your post-diagnosis life.

Accepting the Changes and Body Dysmorphic Issues

Acceptance is a powerful tool on the road to healing. Embrace the changes in your body as a testament to its resilience. It's common for body dysmorphic issues to surface during this time, so be mindful of negative self-talk and unrealistic expectations. Consider incorporating positive affirmations and mindfulness practices to foster a healthy body image. Professional counseling can provide additional support for addressing body dysmorphic concerns and promoting self-love. It will take time to gain confidence. Give yourself grace during this point in your journey and remember that there is no set timeline for this kind of healing.

Choosing Yourself and Being Curious

In the middle of a challenging healing journey, choosing yourself becomes a strong act of self-love. Prioritize your well-being and take the time to explore your evolving identity. Be curious about who you are becoming and what brings you joy. This might involve discovering new interests, hobbies, or aspects of your personality that have surfaced during this transformative period.  Discover things that really bring you joy and vocalize what that joy actually feels like.  By identifying what your joy feels like, you can more easily recognize things that you want to welcome into your life and things that you want to avoid.

Being Gentle and Kind to Yourself

The healing process is a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging the progress you make, no matter how small. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and loved ones who understand the importance of kindness and encouragement.  Continually remind yourself that your healing journey is unique and the pace at which you flow may be different from others.  As long as you’re moving forward, you’re doing great!

Throughout a healing journey one encounters a dynamic exploration of self-discovery and acceptance. From understanding shifts in your sexuality to making friends with your body and grieving inevitable changes, each step is a testament to resilience and self-love. As you embark on this transformative period of your life, remember to be gentle and kind to yourself, celebrating each small victory and practicing self-compassion. Your healing journey is uniquely yours. Continually choose joy, embrace curiosity, and surround yourself with a network that understands the power of kindness and encouragement. In the marathon of healing, every forward step is a triumph.

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