Studies show that women who are confident about their bodies have happier relationships.
Sure, sure, sure it makes absolute sense that a recent study has correlated that women who are confident about their bodies are more likely to have happy, healthy relationships. That no brainer is tricky for the majority of us when we are exposed excessively to airbrushed pictures of the perfect women modeling lingerie that our partners or husbands bring home to us, say, for the holidays. It's even more challenging when the item being given is a teense too small? Ugh.
It's easy to slip into a space of self-loathing and inadequacy when celebrating what is seems to be outside of the norm. One of the consistent messages that I pass on through my Wellness coaching, which is a great thing for all of us to keep in mind as the New Year approaches, is to begin creating a foundation for new behavior patterns that support the you that you wish to create. Those patterns can be mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual. So here are 5 simple ways to change that around and begin practicing loving your body.
1. Mental. Learn to cultivate a mental state of self-compassion. Self-compassion is space that we can create mentally whereby we just hold and love our selves for where we are at. Say, for example, that you are having, unkind thoughts about your body. It's simply the ability to draw a quality of awareness out whereby you observe your unkind thoughts and then at the same time, hold yourself and love yourself even though you are having these negative thoughts, feelings, or images.
Self-compassion creates an impossibility for guilt or shame to invade. You may be having thoughts that generate feelings of guilt or shame, but the mere act of just loving yourself in your negative thoughts and even allowing the feelings of guilt and shame to surface allows for the feelings to sort of bubble up and burst instead of fester into a nasty infection. Simple way to do this? Learn to catch yourself in your thoughts. Each day, begin the day with a commitment to becoming more and more aware of your negative thought patterning, and also commit to holding yourself in self-compassion when you do.
2. Emotional. Cultivate heart-centered love. Create time and space in your day to really practice, bringing to the surface feelings of love whether they are directed at yourself or not. Simply learning to pull up the emotional quality or feeling of love is huge. It's like learning to pump iron at the gym—the more you do it, the more weight you can lift. In this scenario, the more you are able to connect with the feeling of love in your heart, the more you are able to begin directing it at yourself. Make a certain time or space where you can close your eyes and just allow yourself to feel love. It may be difficult. I teach my kids to begin with going into a space of gratitude and feeling that sense of humility and gratitude usually feeds in for me into a space of just pure love. Practice this possibliy when you lying in bed when you first wake up? When you go to bed? When you are even sitting on the toilet? See what works for you.
3. Physical. Practice loving your body physically. We are all at different stages of comfort with loving our bodies physically. There is so much taboo put on touching ourselves through masturbation/self-pleasuring, etc. So here are several ways that will span the edges of the spectrum and you can fill in the blanks in between. The simplest way is to look at yourself in the mirror and profess your love to yourself out loud. Get a good look at yourself. Look at yourself in your eyes closely and say, "I love you. You are worthy of love and I celebrate your beautiful body, mind, and spirit."
If you want to take it to the other end of the spectrum, create space where you can be with yourself intimately. Cuddle up in bed and find all of the beautiful special spots that feel so good to touch, nipples, clitoris, maybe just your inner thighs or the soft folds of breast tissue. If you have had experiences that make this challenging for you to conjure any good feeling, if you are having feelings of guilt or shame, then simply hold yourself in self-compassion. Allow whatever emotions surface to arise. I liken your reaction to be like one of a mother holding and reassuring a baby or young child. You want to be able to tell yourself, "I hear you. I feel you. You are scared and ashamed. But here's the deal...I got you. I will hold you and be here for you. You are safe and I will always look out for you. You are beautiful and wonderful and I will take this very slow for you, at your own pace."
If you are able to relax and enjoy the sensations, allow yourself to feel the orgasmic feelings all over. Allow yourself to feel a sense of deep love and healing that courses through your body.
4. Spiritual. Create a Ritual Infused with your Spirituality – We have so many different beliefs and religious practices among us that this will be very individual; however, I have witnessed that a ritualistic practice rooted in spirituality can help to cut through any stagnation in our mental, emotional and physical pasts that may be negative, traumatic or harmful in any way. This is where you get to do a little self discovery as to what you can bring your greatest focus and intention to.
I work a lot with the Goddess Archetypes. For me, I might either pull a goddess card from a deck of archetypal cards that I have and begin to understand the nature of that goddess and how her powers can be harnessed by me to cut through anything that is holding me back. You can research a variety of Goddesses simply online as well. I usually work with a Goddess for a month or a moon cycle or however you might want to. If you find yourself drawn to Christianity, you may find a Saint or figure within the religion that may speak out to you and that you may direct your prayers toward in order to assist bringing you the peace and freedom that you desire in order to love yourself for who you are.
Important to note: Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can give the world, universe, and/or God. When we love ourselves, we are reflecting out our deepest love, appreciation, and respect for all beings.
5. In Partnership. Begin to observe the effects of your practice—As you implement some of these practices into your daily life with regularity (regularity is key), notice how others interact with you. I guarantee that people will notice. It could be the cashier at the store that begins commenting on how good you look. It could be that your partner or spouse start looking at you differently.
Maybe you can bring some of your self-touching into the bedroom...the more lovely fingers and hands the more diverse ways we can arouse eachother. This may seem very far fetched to some and very exciting for others. If you find that you may make your partner feel inadequate if you are also participating in the touching, I would encourage you to consider bringing these things into a conversation prior to your intimate engagement so that no one is allowing feelings of inadequacy or shame into those gorgeous moments of sharing physical love making. We want to be sure that in our vulnerability in sharing our bodies that self-love can be generated and mingled together with your love for your partner. This expansive energy is truly awesome!
Are you interested in having support in making behavior changes in the area of Self-Love or Self-Care? I offer a Free 30 Minute Consultation to see if what I have to offer as a Wellness Coach will be the perfect thing for you. Honor yourself. Celebrate your strength. Empower your transformation.
More self-love advice from YourTango:
- The Way To True Love Is Through Self-Love
- 3 Simple Steps To Improve Self-Confidence
- The Best Relationship Advice On YourTango
This article was originally published at The Mother Rising . Reprinted with permission from the author.