Thursday, 12 July 2012

Step 3: How Attractive Are You?

“A woman’s femininity is as much in her mind as it is in her silhouette.” Anonymous breast cancer survivor

Have you noticed there’s a recurring message in our posts?  You are what you think you are….  and that goes for how attractive you think you are too! 

If you feel attractive and sure of yourself on the inside, others will see like this as well. Of course it’s not always easy to feel so positive about ourselves and yet, in the same way magazine images can be enhanced with computer technology, you too can learn how to programme your self image for the better.  In this post we’ll tell you how, as well as offer some simple style tips for looking great on the outside too!  

How we feel about our body image changes throughout our life and is affected by many things, including illness. You may have a very different view of your body after your diagnosis and treatment from the one you had before. Your breast cancer treatment may have left you with temporary or permanent visible reminders of your experience. You may also have put on or lost weight as a result of treatment. All this can make you feel less content with your body and you may lose confidence in the way you look.

So how do you get that confidence back?  The first thing is to accept attractiveness is more than the shape and symmetry of your body - it’s everything that makes up you.  The second point is to understand that you can take control of how you think about yourself and let go of thoughts that are holding you back..... Start by rooting out any lousy beliefs you may be harbouring about your body image. 

Here’s five simple steps to get you started:

Step One: Take 5 minutes to consider these statements and go with the first responses that come to mind:

1)    My most negative thoughts about my looks are.....(list five)
2)    The main message I project to others about my looks is...
3)    What I think other people think about my looks is....
4)    The ways in which these thoughts hold me back are.... (list five)

Doing this quick reflection can help surface all of your unproductive thoughts and beliefs. They’re just emotional thought habits you’ve got into, some of which you’ve held on to so closely you’ve come to believe they’re true.  So how can you turn these unhelpful thoughts around?  

Step Two: Consider these statements in the context of your responses to the above exercise:

1)    I no longer need to believe the above negative thoughts about my looks
2)    I now appreciate my natural beauty and attractiveness
3)    I am wonderful just as I am
4)    I like myself
5)    I appreciate myself exactly as I am

The rule is: Tell yourself that you look good and learn to believe it!

Step three: From the list above, choose 3 new beliefs you are happy to start working with.  Change or add to them in any way that makes them more personal and powerful for you. Begin today and in 30 days you will have travelled a long way to taking these beliefs on board as true.

Clean up your thinking and you’ll begin to see yourself in a whole new way…..

Step four: Write down your 3 beliefs at least 10 times first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Say them to yourself throughout the day as repetition is key to improving your self image.  Strengthening your mind is like strengthening your body.  If you do 20 sit ups and then race over to the mirror you won’t see any difference.  Similarly if you think positively for 24 hours you won’t see much difference initially.  Discipline your thinking for a few months and you will see bigger changes in your life than you will ever see in the gym.  

See yourself as gorgeous.....

Step five: Ask yourself right now: How do I want others to see me? And then decide to see yourself in this way.  Put the words or phrases into the form of a productive statement of intent.  A simple example is: “I see myself as attractive and so does everyone else.”

Next post: Dress for Success! We’ve got some great tips and suggestions for how to dress for success which ladies who have had breast cancer have suggested worked for them.  Put this together with the new confident inner you tips from this post and you are well on the way to a brand new you!

As always, please tell us and others out there what you think about this post!  Re-tweet us, post a comment below, link us to your Facebook friends…..  We’d love to hear what’s helped you look and feel good and other ladies would love to know too!  Similarly, if there are things you’d like us to cover in future posts, tell us and we’ll try our best to include them. J