To Tell or Not To Tell
Talking about your lymphedema or lipedema is very personal. It’s your decision whether to share this information when you’re in the early stages of dating someone. When you’re thinking about this, your most important consideration should be what’s right for you. Are you more comfortable hiding your garments under your clothes? Or do you show them off, choosing bold colors and clothes you’ve selected because you love them, not because they hide what you’re wearing underneath? Both options are fine; it’s totally up to you. You don’t have to decide whether to talk about your history with lymphedema or lipedema right away. You might feel comfortable doing this immediately, or you might want to save it for when you know your date a little better. Again, this decision is entirely yours to make. No matter what you decide, please try to remember that you are not defined by your condition – in the same way you are not defined by the color of your hair or whether you are left or right-handed.
Boost Your Self-Esteem
Social media has reinforced the beauty ideal of slim, toned, perfect bodies. These unrealistic standards have impacted people generally, and we know that this impact can be intensified if you have lymphedema or lipedema, and may struggle more with your body shape and low self-esteem. An upcoming date can magnify these worries or fears. But there are ways to give your self-esteem a boost. Identify one of your negative beliefs, such as “I can’t wear a dress because of my swollen legs”. Write this down and challenge this thought. Think about situations when you feel good about yourself, or have received compliments about your hair, style, etc. After that, write down more positive things about you that are unrelated to your appearance. You’ll soon notice that there are many more positive things about yourself than you might have thought. If you can, turn to a trusted friend or family member and ask them to help you identify your positive qualities. Sometimes, our greatest champions are the people closest to us, who often see things in us that we do not.
Stop Yourself from Overthinking
Living with a chronic condition requires planning ahead; you have to be structured, organize your appointments and medical equipment, as well as take care of everything else in your daily life. But, sometimes, the best thing is to allow yourself to let this all go and live in the moment. Instead of thinking about what can go wrong, start thinking positively and about what could go right – this could be the person you’ve been looking for! And even if, this time, you do not meet “the one”, you’ve challenged yourself by meeting someone new. We all feel afraid to do things at times, but it’s important to face these fears and live the life you want, without compromise.
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Don’t sit around and go through this in silence. Share your story. Doing that was a real eye-opener for me
Claudia Lymphedema patient