I spent my therapy session exploring why I feel less physically attractive today than I did a couple years ago when I was working as a Gymnastics Coach which is the time I defined as feeling most attractive. The time before my physical illness really affected me.
a lot of it has to do with internalized ableism. While my identity as a disabled person is something I'm proud of, I've still internalized a lot of the messages that society has drilled into me, "Disabled people aren't sexy."/ "Medical devices are cumbersome and ugly."
"Abled People are only with Disabled People out of pity."
I can know these messages are false and tell others how untrue they are, but they would still feel like they apply to me for some reason.
I'd find myself thinking, "I'm not sexy like I used to be" or
"My feeding tube/wheelchair/PICC line is really unattractive. I'm unattractive." Or "He's only still with me because he feels morally obligated to stay with a sick person."
My therapist likes to ask me what I would say to a friend who was feeling what I was feeling or said they believed these things - and then do it for myself (give myself the cookie)

first I would validate feelings
Then I would empathize
Lastly I would help them look for evidence
Validate: it's totally valid to feel unattractive, or unwanted. All feelings are valid. At one point or another, people feel unattractive and unwanted for some reason.
Empathize (because it's myself, look back on past experiences): there have been other times when society has
told me I was ugly and unwanted- my dark skin which I tried to hide and lighten at one point in time - I grew to feel attractive, and beautiful with my skin. I will feel beautiful and loveable as a visibly disabled person too.
Evidence: Specifically do I have evidence that people or my partner only wants to be around me because they feel morally obligated?

Do I have evidence telling me otherwise?
Do they that they enjoy spending time with me? Or that they miss me when I'm away? That's evidence.
This thread was mostly for me. But maybe it helped you too.
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