“Shit I stayed up til 2AM working and didn’t go to yoga today… BAD!”
Most of the time we don’t even recognize the pressure we put on ourselves to meet self-imposed expectations. It feels normal to have harsh ’self-regulating’ thoughts that make us believe we’re becoming “better human beings.”
The problem is, while the mantra “mind over matter” may push you to excel through your physical and emotional capacities, you may be disrespecting your body’s wisdom. If we’re not already totally exhausted from pushing our limits, the depletion we feel inside can lead to knocking down a bottle of wine to numb our dissatisfaction. Overindulgences in other pleasures, such as sex, can serve as an escape instead of a pleasure we’re fulfilled by.
To numb out the “not enough” feeling we either seek overindulgence in pleasure or shut down and deny ourselves from pleasure entirely. But if you just release the pressure you put on your body for feeling “not enough”, you’ll feel fulfilled by enjoying healthy pleasures.
I recently worked with a client who had a food addiction for most of her adult life. She was angry with her body for not cooperating with her many attempts to lose weight. After following all the rules for weight loss consistently, she felt frustrated that her efforts were “never enough.” This toxic anger towards her body then bled into her love life. She felt needy for her partner’s constant attention and craved validation through sex. The only way to heal her insecurity in the relationship was to heal the relationship to her body first. She knew this, but the obstacle was how she went about doing it.
After 45 minutes of guiding my client to listen to her body from the inside out, the trust between herself and her body opened up. She shed tears of forgiveness for all of the times she hadn’t listened to her body and pushed her body to meet her agenda of what she thought would make her feel better about her deficient self-esteem. That night after our session, she chose to spend time nurturing herself instead of defaulting to seeking attention from her boyfriend that she wasn’t giving to herself. While on the outside, this may seem like a simple action, it was a profound change in her habit of looking for validation and love outside of herself and shifting her focus to being loving and nurturing towards herself. Most importantly, she didn’t do it because she thought she “should”, she did it because she was naturally listening to and honoring what she needed.
[bctt tweet=”Self-satisfaction doesn’t come from “doing more”, it comes from feeling you’re enough. “]
Giving yourself permission for sensual pleasures will fill the well of “not enough” if you just establish a healthy relationship with your body.
Here are 3 ways you can heal the relationship to your sensuality to feel self-satisfied.
1. Consult Your Body
My health and wellness colleague Nadya Andreeva once taught me to write a letter to my body asking for my body’s advice on what to eat and how to exercise. I was immediately redeemed by knowing that my body was craving more water and more rest, when meanwhile I’d been feeling guilty about not working out more. Ironically, I learned the things I was being hard on myself for were the very things I needed to give myself permission for.
The same consultation works beautifully for knowing how to give your body pleasure and love. Your body is unique to you. The relationship with your body is the longest relationship you’ll ever have in your life. Learning to take time to listen to your body instead of seeking outside advice is key.
During a moving meditation, for example, (meditations where you’re following the natural instincts of how your body wants to move) you can practice listening to your body’s cravings and responding by giving your body the kind of movement that it thirsts for.
This distinction is key: When you consistently give your body the pleasure it thirsts for, you’re not just engaging in goal-oriented movement like trying to achieve a certain yoga pose. You’re deliberately opening yourself up to listening to how your body wants to move, and you’re following that impulse from the inside out. This establishes more trust and ease with your body. And when you trust your body more, you start to break the harmful patterns of doing what you think you “should” do and push hard for.
If you ask your body what it needs to feel loved, sexy, alive and turned on, and you’re not getting any messages or information, understand that your own body language might not come in the form of ‘a voice’ or ‘a sentence.’ Our bodies most commonly communicate to us through sensations.
Focusing on the sensations in your body is actually much easier that you might think. Essentially it comes down to being able to discern between these two things: what sensations feel like expansion in your body and what sensations feel like contraction in your body? Listening and feeling for these two things in your body will give you endless guidance.
If you still have trouble feeling sensations in your body, the best channel to activating sensation is by breathing deeply to oxygenate your blood. When you do this, you’ll feel sensations immediately.
For more support in building a pleasure practice, check out the Sacred Sexy Course, a 12-day odyssey for breaking the ceiling to your sense of deservingness and pleasure.
2. Thank Your Body
Your body is the vessel of your self-expression, the self-regulator of your crap, both mental and fecal, and the dewey decimal system for vitamins, minerals, and emotional experiences. And if you just take time to acknowledge all that your body does for you, you’ll be blown away by the inventory. Find inspiration in all the ways you can thank your body. Be specific and generous. And do it frequently.
If you’re like me, you’ve probably discovered that repeating affirmations to yourself only goes skin deep before you hit the same obstacle where either self-judgment surfaces again, or you feel frustrated by your limitations. The problem with affirmations is that they’re often like a band-aid, and only sink in on an intellectual level, as opposed to sinking in on a deeper level into the DNA of your cells. This is why many of us experience the frustration of “trying” to be grateful for our bodies, but don’t experience any long-lasting or liberating result.
While the “fake it until you make it” approach does have some merit, the effectiveness of a “list-making-kind-of-gratitude” is often temporary. However, if you just learn to connect to the sensations in your body that hold emotional tension, and send love to these areas through the touch of your hands, you’ll often get to release something deep and old that you’ve been hanging onto.
When this release happens, you have the chance to thank your body for releasing emotional tension that limits your joy and pleasure. When you go deeper by sending physical love to your body through the touch of your hands, the impact of gratitude lands on an emotional level, not just an intellectual level. This is where deep healing and long-lasting change happens.
3. Ask Your Body for Forgiveness
Behavior that deprives our bodies of nourishment and pleasure is often masterful and unconscious. We reprimand our bodies for their limitations and often push harder to overcome these perceived limitations.
If we can just acknowledge how we’ve pushed and punished our bodies when they don’t measure up to our grand expectations that are largely driven from feeling “not enough”, we’ll be well on the way to changing deeply unconscious beliefs and toxic behaviors. After acknowledging the subtle ways we’ve denied our bodies of pleasure for feeling we need to do more, to measure up, we can start to close the gap and heal the loveless pit inside of our emotional well-being.
After acknowledging how you’ve been less-than-loving towards your own body, there’s an opening to be able to experience how painful it is to actually deny yourself of love, for and from yourself. And right in the center of that pain is a beautiful sweet spot that swells into a reservoir of self-compassion. And that’s where forgiveness is born. Forgiveness replaces the anxious pursuit of ‘never enough’ with a deep and tender compassion.
Forgiveness is the ultimate pillar for real deal Self Love.
And self-love is the ultimate ju-ju for great sex.
Because making love without loving yourself feeds the toxic bacteria of your mind and denies your body of the very thing she’s designed for: pleasure. And when you engage in pleasure from a place of loving yourself, joy explodes.
Our bodies essentially deserve the same pedigree of compassion, encouragement, trust and grace that we would offer to any of our best friends. Denying our bodies any of those qualities are, at the core, acts of self-betrayal and disrespect.
Gain your body’s trust back. Talk to her. Please her. Thank her. Forgive her.
And no matter what, love her hard.