Are you able to say ‘NO’, confidently? Chances are, if you can’t say no, your Yes will be somewhat halfhearted, too. We all so long to be loved for how, who and what we are. The prerequisite for being loved like that is to show up as ourselves, rather than what we think we should be. Women especially are often conditioned to please others. We can’t really risk too much emotional or physical closeness if we are unable to set boundaries. It s just too risky. We also owe it to our partners to assume that they can deal with us as we are, and that they are completely able to cope with rejection. They may be disappointed, of course, however, in the long run they will appreciate and respect you for showing up authentically. Dare to be YOU. There are workshops where you can playfully try out both your Yesses and your Nos, and get in touch with your desires. Go to my website to find out more: www.StellaWithLove.com
Constantly getting triggered in relationships? Usually this points to issues we haven’t acknowledged about ourselves. If we lack patience with, and understanding, about our own issues, we may resort to either blame, or project onto our partner. Intimate relationships bring it all out. We are naked physically and figuratively in front of each other, and our partners are mirrors to us. We may not always like what we see! Self knowledge means we can differentiate well between what’s our stuff, and what’s theirs. If we have developed a witness ability for ourselves, we can also witness our partner’s reactions, without identifying, reacting or escalating. The way we have learned to deal with ourselves is usually the way we treat others. In order to learn to acknowledge and love ALL aspects of yourself, practice Mindfulness, or take counselling sessions. Invest in your Self.
Do you dare to fully inhabit your body, and love it? It seems there are definitely different degrees of embodiment, varying between individuals, but also in the course of a lifetime. Sometimes we see a person, maybe a young dancer, who seems to radiate aliveness from every part of their body. have you ever noticed how different it feels to hug various people? Some feel very alive, and with others, the feeling is almost as if no-one was at home in their bodies… This is not necessarily a question of age. I’ve seen a performance of a ninety year old, who radiated aliveness throughout.
When I was about twelve, i grew very tall in the space of just a year or two. With the onset of puberty on top of that, it must have taken me many years to arrive in my new body. So, yes, after that growth spurt, I was definitely ‘less embodied’. So, what kind of effect does it have, to be less embodied? Awkwardness, being prone to accidents, and, most of all, an agonising feeling of unease and – yes – shame. I could not acknowledge my new body yet, so it was strange to me.
In order to be truly intimate with someone, I need to first be acquainted with and love my own body. Owning my body is owning my Self. If I don’t own and love my body, my partner does not know who or what to relate to. Say, my partner touches me, and wants to know if that feels good to me. How would I know, if my body is unfamiliar to me?! ‘Well, yes, i guess so, yeah, that feels quite good…’ We can’t really expect our partners to guess what feels good for us.
Now, here is another scenario. When I can’t feel my own body, and live predominantly in my head, I will seek acknowledgement for my Self from OTHER people. I could then demand sexual gratification of them as a proof, for example. I need them to tell me that they love me, because I cant feel any love for myself. I live completely in my head, in my thoughts. I may then demand over and over that they ‘prove’ their love. I can’t really relate to them, apart from using their physical attractiveness as a token for my own attractiveness. In that case, our entire view of ourselves depends on being with a sexual partner, for our own sake. I have also come to believe that one of the main reason for men using sex workers is the need to boost their self esteem. Unless they just need someone to talk to, or see someone really skilled – to become a better lover.
Social conditioning here defines the difference between women and men. A sexually promiscuous male is a ‘stud’, a sexually promiscuous female a ‘slut’. Masturbating at home by ourselves carries more social condemnation and shame for men than for women. I sometimes think women are not considered to masturbate at all.
So how do less embodied women boost their self confidence with the help of the other gender? By admiration and attraction, not only from men, but from women as well, as straight women look at other women, too. To summarise all this, it seems we often use/abuse the other and the same gender to boost our egos. I don’t know about you, but since I ve had this insight, I ve been carefully scrutinising all my human interactions! I would like to meet others from a place of authenticity and heart connection that goes deeper than my ego.
One way to more authentic connections, where we can allow ourselves to show all of us, and be vulnerable, is to learn to love ourselves first and foremost. Hayley Quinn, a Uk dating coach, says she now outright recommends people to steer clear from dating for a while, to read a book, to work on self development, or to go into therapy. In her brilliant TEdX talk, she speaks about her own journey, of dating two men at the same time, having one admirer on top of that, and another man ‘in the freezer’. Similarly, Bryan Reeves, a US coach, put himself on a 30 day diet from women and social media, once he realised how dependent he was on female acknowledgement of his masculinity.
A practical path towards more embodiment: Breath is a powerful tool that gets us in touch with all our organs, gets us out of our brains, of reviewing the past, and planning ahead, and into the moment, breathing in, and breathing out. It s free, and available anywhere and anytime, that s why it is usually underestimated. Conscious breath increases body sensation and has the power to help us relax deeply into ourselves, into what we are in each moment, rather than who we think we are. Living in our heads often means living in fear, and existing between reviewing the past, and anticipating or worrying about the future. Once we begin to own and acknowledge our bodies, we have the chance to ground ourselves, to let go of fear and worries, and to embrace each moment as it comes along. That in itself will cause neuro-chemical changes in our brain, and develop the pre-frontal cortex, enabling true empathy. It will also improve our sex lives, as we can feel and sense whatever is happening right now, rather than worry about performance, or working towards an orgasm.
Remember how you are with loved ones? We can give love to ourselves in the same way, physically. Touching our body lovingly every morning, before getting up, including our genitals, giving ourselves hugs, or calling ourselves ‘Darling’ or ‘Sweetie’ in our minds. Have fun with it!
‘Love your Self so fiercely, to let others know how to do it.’
Stella, with Love.