I recently stumbled upon this post on Tumblr and it really got me thinking. As women, we're taught by society, social media, and even by our own parents and peers that it's crucial we look perfect - otherwise, that ideal mate we're searching for will never settle for us (more about that "ideal partner" here).
It starts from very early on. You turn on the TV and there's Pamela Anderson in Baywatch, Megan Fox in Transformers, Scarlett Johansson in the Avengers... And while Ironman and the Hulk are the brains of it all, Black Widow and Scarlett Witch are there to be good lookin' and powerful. So that's what we grow up thinking: that no matter how smart and capable we are, unless we have perfect figures, we can't be wanted.
And don't get me wrong: wanting to be in good shape because you want to look a certain way and it makes you feel good is great! But the issue begins when we strip naked in front of our partner and, instead of thinking about our pleasure or admiring our bodies, we start with the never-ending string of self-deprecating thoughts:
"I didn't shave well enough - he's going to be disgusted!"
"This pose makes me look so fat!" "My breasts are so tiny, I can't believe he's into me."
"My cellulite is gross, better turn off the lights so he doesn't see it!"
And with thoughts like those, achieving sexual pleasure becomes secondary, and often impossible.
The truth of it all is: it's cool if you want to look good for your partner. It's great if you want to look good for yourself! But until you can accept your body as it is, no change will be good enough for you, and you'll never consider yourself good enough for anyone else - and that's no way to form a healthy relationship with yourself or anybody else.
So let's do an exercise that will get you there! Ideally, you should do it at least once a day and you'll be seeing great results in no time.
The Mirror Exercise
What you'll need to do is get bare naked - no make up and no clothes - and stand in front of a mirror. And no tricks, bad lighting and such: you need to be able to see every part of your body well. Start from the top of your head and start going down. Let your eyes move towards every single part of your body, and remain there for a couple of seconds. As you're focusing on each body part, tell yourself this:
"I am looking at my (face, arms, breasts, stomach), and I accept it as it is."
You don't have to like all of your body parts - all you need to do is accept that they are there and that they look a certain way. That's it - there's nothing more to it! If you want a flatter tummy, I'm not going to have you look at yourself and say you think it's beautiful as it is, because you don't and that's fine! But you need to accept that it's there, that it's an essential part of you, and that at least for now, you're okay with it as it is.
If you notice yourself taking your eyes off a certain body part, get your gaze back on it! Otherwise, you'll still end up focusing on it in a negative light once you're lying naked with someone.
Let me know if this exercise helped you accept yourself more, and if it did, share it for others to see!