As a women’s sexuality coach, I spend a lot time talking with women about their body image.
A lot of my clients tell me that they don’t love the way their bodies look, are embarrassed to be seen naked, and that this makes it difficult for them to enjoy sex.
In particular, a lot of my clients tell me they hate their bellies, and wish their bellies were flatter and more toned.
Can you relate? I can. I’ve got some “love handles” on my belly and struggled with feeling ashamed of them for years. But then, a few years ago, after spending time getting deeply in touch with my feminine nature, my whole relationship with my body began to transform.
Recently, I was reminded of this transformation after a beautiful session I had with a client. She too was carrying around a lot of shame and hatred about her belly, and it was stopping her from being able to enjoy sex.
I believe our bodies are wise, and that we can tap into that wisdom simply by listening. During my session with this client, I could empathically feel that her belly had some wisdom for her, so I guided her to get in touch with it.
Here’s a snippet from our session:
Me: Let’s sit quietly for a minute, while you sense into your belly. I think she has some wisdom for you. Quietly listen so you can hear her.
After a few minutes of quietly sitting, tears formed in her eyes and she said:
She’s telling me she’s here to teach me softness. She’s so soft. I’ve spent all my life pushing and working and producing. I’m exhausted. I’ve forgotten how to feel soft.
Tears formed in my eyes too. Years ago, my belly told me the same thing. She is here to teach me how to soften.
We live in a world that values pushing, striving and being “hard” (non emotional, thick skinned, hard working), which is a more masculine essence, over being soft, which is a more feminine essence.
In our world, it’s considered weak to be soft. But, being soft takes vulnerability, and vulnerability is the most courageous thing I know.
The truth is, the body parts that most of us hate (belly, butt, breasts, hips, thighs, vagina) are our fertility parts. Long ago, our female figure was revered and worshiped for our powerful ability to give life, and experience transcendent pleasure.
In almost all ancient goddess sculptures, fertility parts of the body were exaggerated for this very reason.
So, when we hate and feel shame about our fertility parts, we are hating and shaming the very core of our feminine. We are hating and shaming our own power.
If you have a body part you hate, I invite to try this four step process to help you tune into the wisdom of your body, and transform your relationship with her.
1. Close your eyes, and quiet your mind.
First, do your best to let go of any preconceived ideas you have about this part of your body. Most of our preconceived ideas (too fat, too big, too small, wrinkled) are simply ways we’ve been conditioned to think about female bodies. It’s difficult to hear the inner wisdom of our bodies, when we are caught up in conditioned thinking.
2. Bring your awareness to this body part, and spend some time really tuning into it. See if you can allow yourself to fully embody this part of you. When we have body parts we hate, we disconnect from them. Allow yourself to reconnect.
3. When you feel a reconnection, ask this body part what wisdom it has for you. You may hear words, receive an image, or feel sensations or emotions. If you feel sensations or emotions, do your best to allow the feelings to arise. They may be uncomfortable (body parts we have spent years hating may have stored up hatred or grief in them), but allowing them to arise will help release them from your body.
4. Write down any information you received, and if your body gave you any instruction, follow through. For example, when my client’s belly told her she was here to teach her how to soften, my client did an inventory of all the places she tended to harden, and practiced softening in those places instead.
It’s important to take action based on the information you received, so you can actually shift your relationship with your body. If you don’t take action, the information will be an idea in your head (I should soften), instead of an actual shift in your body (your body has released hardening).
Our womanly bodies are powerful, wise, and capable of experiencing immense pleasure.
May every woman know this.
Author: Sarah Kennedy
Editor: Catherine Monkman