Make peace with your body parts

Midlife women have shared with me that they didn’t want to start dating until they lost weight and/or got in shape. Some said the thought of getting undressed in front of a man was so unnerving, they would rather not start the dating process if that was to be the end result. In “Getting naked with him the first time” I talked about the experience of being unclothed with someone for the first time.

goddess statueBut today I want to explore what you can do to be at peace with any of your body “particulars” with which you have some issues and that are preventing you from moving forward in the dating process.

A few years ago I took a weekend course on women’s body esteem from Rita Hovakimian. In it, she had us do a powerful exercise designed to help us stop being critical of body parts we weren’t fond of.

Let’s say you are critical of your thighs, calling them “thunder thighs,” and being upset with their size, shape and lack of tone. You’ve blamed their shape on your mother’s genes, and have diligently exercised to try to reduce their size and get them into the long, slender shape you desire. However, no matter what you do they continue to maintain their chubby appearance.

Rita had each workshop participant change into tights and leotards or a bathing suit and have a conversation with these less-than-ideal body parts, as if they were a separate person. So, the conversation with my thighs went like this:

Rita: How do you feel about your thighs?

Me: I’m disgusted with them. They are big and flabby and cellulite riddled. I wish I could just cut off the flab.

Rita: Okay. Let’s ask your thighs how they feel about your thinking this about them.

(Me, as my thighs): We are sad that you dislike us so much. We do a lot for you. We help you walk, bike, dance and exercise. We enabled you to ski for years. And now all we hear is complaints. How about some acknowledgment for what we do for you?

Rita: What do you think about that?

Me: They are right. I only focus on what I don’t like.

Rita: What can you sincerely acknowledge about your thighs? Tell them.

Me: Thighs, thank you for being so strong and powerful. You enable me to ride my bike, dance, do aerobics, walk, and hike. I appreciate the years of pleasure you’ve allowed me to have from these activities. You’ve never let me down.

Rita: Thighs, how do you feel hearing that?

Thighs: It feels great to be appreciated. We feel loved.

Rita: Your thighs have served you, even in their larger-than-you’d-like current form. They have done their job for you without fail. Can you forgive that they don’t have your ideal shape and allow them to continue to do their job, and appreciate them for it?

Me: Absolutely.

Rita: Thighs, how does it feel to hear that?

Thighs: Great. And we only got big to get some attention. If we got more regular love an acknowledgment, we wouldn’t need to be quite so big.

Me: I will love you no matter what your size.

Within months of this process, with the help of exercise, my thighs were a bit more slender and toned. They are still not my ideal shape, but I have let go of my loathing of them.

So I’ve given up being concerned about what a guy will think upon seeing them for the first time. If he’s disapproving, he’s not for me. And I can tell if he’s going to be critical of me and my body particulars long before he sees me unclothed, so I stop seeing him as I don’t need judgmental people in my life.

Do you have some body parts with which you need to make peace and appreciate so you can progress in dating? Try a conversation similar to the above and see what comes out. You may be surprised.

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7 responses to “Make peace with your body parts”

  1. […] post by Dating Goddess and software by Elliott […]

  2. Martin Avatar

    Have to agree with you that if a man does not fancy you naked then dump him and look for someone that does. That is not to say that you do have to go naked with him initially. Try to get him to make love under the covers for starters and with the light off. He might get in love or perhaps he might not.

    The main thing is keep trying.

    Compare yourself to women that are with men you could fancy, “what is he doing with her”. Well that is the dating game.

    Love to see your comments on my forum too.


  3. Tammy Todd Avatar

    Great point. Thanks.

  4. Strblonde Avatar

    Thank you, Martin, for that perspective. I do sometimes wonder, “what is he doing with her?” I always figure it must be the personality. Of course, then I wonder if I need to change mine. I can’t change my personality, I just need to find the right “fit” ultimately. I am not heavy, but there are parts where I could stand to lose a little. At this age, though, that is getting harder and harder to do so I must just be more accepting of what I can or can’t change. It certainly helps when a guy is complimentary of your body BEFORE he sees you naked. Hopefully it isn’t just a line to get you into bed!

  5. bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Wow, can I relate to this, although it’s not just one body part I dislike, (I think I could live with that), but the whole package. I have never been with a guy who didn’t criticize my appearance to some degree and I think this has rubbed off on me over the years.

    What I don’t understand is why men are so d**n cruel. I would never dream of criticizing a guy for something as superficial as his appearance; (because, as everyone knows, most physical traits are inherited and not under voluntary control so IMHO this is exactly like criticizing someone for being in a wheelchair or having cancer, which are also not under voluntary control); yet the men I’ve dated and had long term relationships with have always felt free to criticize and belittle my looks under the guise of offering suggestions for “improvement.” I am not a building project and I don’t need a man to “remodel” me. I may not be attractive on the outside, but that doesn’t mean I want or need anyone’s critical suggestions or abject pity.

    I think it’s time to take a break from dating and buy a few more dogs. At least they seem to enjoy my company no matter what I weigh or what my face and body look like at the end of a long day.

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  6. wildirishrose Avatar

    I agree with bookyone I too have a complete set of ugly body parts that no one should see naked but my dog doesn’t seem to mind think I will stick to living with her

  7. LA Avatar

    I always tell women to be the best “they can be”. Some of us will never have huge breasts, long lean legs. or those other parts that are supposed to be the wow. However, we do have what God granted us. Did God grant you a supple back or lovely hands, how about your feet, are they to die for? Did he give you great shoulders with which to lift and tote young tots, and what about that neck, is is so tempting to bite? I think women get hung up on the thigh, butt, and boob thing. There are so many other parts that we ignore. Me. I don’t have tits, but I LOVE my body! It has served me well in my life and if someone (male) doesn’t like it too bad. There is someone who will. There is a butt for every seat.

    Also ladies if you don’t like something about your body . . . CHANGE IT! There are so many different ways to exercise these days. You don’t need plastic surgery to get the bod you want. Okay, done naggin.