Managing unwanted discussion about hair this holiday season

Be well, friends!

Social settings and family gatherings can increase vulnerability or sensitivity about wearing hair and hair loss. It can bring about worries that others will point out our thinning, patches, or faux hair. Feeling anxious is a normal response when we think we might be ridiculed or rejected, even over something that is outside of our control.

It is also possible to increase our confidence in light of hair loss and hair wearing, and the need for this becomes even more apparent leading up to the holidays when these conversations are more likely to happen.

Preparing a script, setting boundaries, and changing our self-talk are 3 ways that we can feel more confident at our upcoming social gatherings.

An unwelcome comment or question about your hair can catch you off guard. For me, this has made me feel flustered in the moment, and only after the fact do I come up with the response I wish I had given. Having some simple responses tucked away can help you feel ready to respond swiftly and clearly. Here are some gentle ways to respond to unwanted attention to your hair:

1. “Yes, wearing hair (powders, fibres, hats, headwear, a buzz cut) helps me cope with my hair loss.” This pointed response can make it clear that the question is highly personal. Depending on your relationship with someone, it can open up further discussion or shut it down entirely.

2. “Yes, it’s a wig. Do you want to borrow it?” A light hearted sense of humour is sure to diffuse an awkward situation.

3. “It makes getting ready so much easier!” You can certainly follow this up with more information if you feel comfortable. Taking a no big deal approach to the topic cues others to make it no big deal.

It is normal for people to be curious and ask questions, but it’s also okay to let people know your boundaries, in other words, when, how, what and if you’re willing to share and with whom. There are some relationships that feel easy to share- typically those in which we feel safe and free from judgment. There are also those in our lives who feel it’s appropriate to ask; don’t consider the shame and embarrassment one might feel on the receiving end; and/or lack tact and intend to embarrass someone.

1. “I would prefer not to talk about it.” This one really makes your position clear that this is neither the time nor the place for the questions.

2. “I’m not looking for advice. I’ve weighed all my options and this is what works for me.” No, I don’t believe onion juice will grow my hair back, thank you very much!

3. “I’m a little surprised by your question, because people don’t usually ask me that.” Use this response to make a point that it’s rude to ask about physical differences (obviously, context matters!).

How we speak to ourselves matters! Take a moment to listen to the words you are thinking about yourself. Do they cause you to shrink down? Avoid others? Pick out your every flaw? Do your limiting thoughts run wild with all the reasons you can’t do certain things because of your hair loss? The best way to move past our indoctrinated beauty ideals is to shift our self-talk. We can make a conscious decision to speak kindly, gently, intentionally to ourselves. Imagine yourself standing tall, accepting where you’re at with your hair loss, and make every effort to be freed from the power it once held over your life. Try these:

1. “My worth is not defined by my appearance.”

2. “I’m doing what works for me and I don’t owe anyone an explanation.”

3. “I release myself from the power my hair loss has held over me.”

Wishing you all safe and happy gatherings! Hold your head high!

✌️and ♥️

-Laura

Published by Elle Anne

Elle is for Laura. That's me! Thank you for following along with my hair loss journey!

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