Body Embarrassment, part 5
Further Reflections on Nudity
Over the years, conversations with clients about Body Embarrassment has led to many comments regarding the way we see our bodies. Often, clients ask for Bodywork with skin-to-skin contact, wishing to use my friend's approach to working through the embarrassment using touch. Others have begun to dialogue with friends or acquaintances to get a handle on how they see their own bodies, and how others see their bodies.
One reader wrote:
Wayne, your article (on Body Embarrassment) really struck a note with me. I'm just back from a workshop where I shared a large room and a huge bathroom with 3 other women. We got close, as people tend to at such things, and due to time and space constraints, were soon sharing the enormous open shower together. This led to discussions of nudity, our feelings about our bodies, and how those feelings had evolved over the years.
The youngest of us, at 32, is French and currently lives in Paris. She has lived for much of the last 10 years in the U.S., however, and has been married to an American. As is true with many Europeans, she was amazed and put off by our extreme modesty and embarrassment with our bodies.
It was wonderful for me to hear her say that she thought I had a beautiful body, that my breasts were lovely, that my back was beautiful and graceful... WOW! While I've heard those things in the past from men (the fairly distant past, unfortunately), it made such a difference hearing it in a non-sexual context.
What was equally amazing is that she seemed to have the same negative body image as I did - she looked fabulous, but was down on herself for how droopy and awful she looked after having and nursing her daughter. She's nuts! She looked wonderful and appealing and young and beautiful!
Clearly, many of us struggle with non-acceptance of our own bodies, no matter what the objective reality of the situation is. (I think of your previous writing about your friend who was embarrassed by her "fat" stomach, even though she's athletic and in good shape.)
For me, it was healing to openly look at these other women and talk about our bodies.
I also had a couple of wonderful lomi lomi massages (a Hawaiian specialty, I think, done with special emphasis on love and healing,) and left feeling more at ease with my body than I've felt in some time.
I greatly appreciate the comments, and again encourage you to keep looking, both at your own body and that of others. Slowly, we begin to re-shape what and how we see ourselves. Then, book a massage or work with a friend. The results will be stunning.