Breast Implants: How Your Beliefs About Breasts May Be Controlling You

Written By: Amanda Savage Brown, Ph.D., LCSW

Do you ever feel like your beliefs about breasts may be controlling you?

It’s unlikely that someone sat you down and told you that breasts impact your worth and value. But somehow you learned, they matter. They matter so much, you can surgically place devices inside them to increase their size, or to change, restore, or reconstruct their shape. 

In my work with women who make that choice, we explore their why. (Click here if you have breast implants and want to participate in the “What’s Your Why” interview series.) While each woman’s why is unique to her history, they all rest atop a deeply held belief that there is a “normal”, “ideal”, or “better” way for a woman and her breasts to appear (especially in proportion to the rest of her body). Only, these beliefs are stated like facts.

“My body wasn’t normal.”

“I needed bigger breasts to feel sexy.” 

“My partner would leave me without my implants.” 

“It was impossible to feel like a woman with such small breasts.” 

“I was embarrassed of how my body was proportioned.”

When I ask my clients how they came to hold their beliefs around breasts, they sit back, quietly ponder the question, and are surprised to realize…they have no idea. 

Some beliefs control our actions like marionette strings

There’s nothing unusual about women getting breast implants without ever questioning how they came to believe what they believe. Our beliefs often dominate us, much like marionettes. 

I work from the premise that with awareness comes choice. By becoming aware of the beliefs you hold, you have much more choice over how much they control your actions.

This is especially important for women with breast implants because they aren’t lifetime or problem-free devices (see the FDA’s warnings about breast implants here). You deserve to be in the driver’s seat when you eventually choose whether you want to replace or remove them.

It is possible to cut ties with your unhelpful beliefs about women & breasts. 

Cutting ties with your beliefs isn’t the same as getting rid of them. And you don’t loosen their control over you by challenging them or labeling them as “true/false” or “right/wrong.” It’s about exploring how much they control you. It’s about being real with yourself over the way you respond to them. It’s about seeing when you treat yourself in a way that causes you inner suffering because of your beliefs. And it’s about making a different choice moving forward.

To explore how your beliefs about breasts may be controlling you:

  • Simply be curious about your beliefs.
  • Look for things that reinforce your beliefs about breasts. Pay attention to the social messaging you encounter each day on social media, in movies, TV, print media, song lyrics, and so forth.
  • Acknowledge your inner experience when you see an image of a woman. Do you notice her breasts, judge yourself relative to her, feel longing to be “better,” or feel “safe” because you “measure up well”?
  • Notice how you “use” your breasts: do they give you confidence, power, belonging?
  • Notice if there are settings where you choose to “hide” or “downplay” your breasts. If so, what’s that about for you?
  • Catch when you believe you are “better,” “improved,” or more worthy because of your breast implants.

These simple acts help you see that YOU hold your beliefs, rather than them holding you. With this awareness, you see that you are free to choose to follow them or not.  

Chances are high that you will always care about how your breasts appear. Knowing how much your beliefs control you prepares you for their push and pull later, when it’s time to replace or remove your aging or problematic breast implants.

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Amanda Savage Brown, PhD, LCSW, is a self-acceptance counselor & coach. She uses the research-backed approaches from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to help women reclaim their wellbeing from adverse childhood experiences, other trauma, grief, loss, and people-pleasing through mindful self-acceptance and values-guided change. 

She explanted in 2018, recovered from breast implant illness, and now specializes in helping women find their way before, during, and after breast implant removal.

She is the author of Busting Free, the forthcoming self-help book for women whose life journey includes breast implants.

Learn more at amandasavagebrown.com and follow her on FB and IG @dr.amandasavagebrown

Disclaimer: All information shared in these blog posts is educational and should not be used as a substitute for therapy or taken as therapeutic guidance.

© 2022 Amanda Savage Brown

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