Many women have a difficult relationship with their bodies. There isn’t one simple reason. The tapestries of our lives are made from many threads, some that make us feel good and others that make us feel bad about ourselves. In this article, I will explore why and share some ways to reclaim a good relationship with your body.
When you look in the mirror what do you see?
If I asked you to describe what you see, would you start listing your good points or what you think are the bad ones? Which would be the longer list – good or bad? I’d bet you started with negative statements about yourself. You’re not the only woman who does this. Why are women so nasty to themselves? Where does this behaviour come from?
If you go to Cuba, the women ooze confidence and self-respect. They are proud of their bodies regardless of their job or how they look. Cuba was isolated from advertising. They weren’t subjected to images of young thin women, marketing telling them what they needed to look different to be liked. These women grew up confident in the natural shape of their bodies. They know they are beautiful and sexy, this is raw confidence.
What do you see when you look in the mirror?
One of the threads that woven into the tapestry of many women’s lives is their bodies are the physical space that has been violated. The #MeToo movement showed the numbers of women that had suffered sexual abuse, but not all victims want to go public. We all know there are many more victims, you may know someone or it maybe you.
There are also the situations where you liked someone, you enjoy being with them, but the swiftness in which they want to have sex, is far too fast for you. You don’t want to be judged negatively, so you go along with it before your body is ready. You put your partners needs above your own. The issue is you didn’t listen to your body, you betrayed yourself.
Many women are walking guilt, shame and pain. They don’t like their bodies as they see a victim in the mirror. They feel broken, not good enough and this is another cultural aspect.
Women’s bodies are beautiful
Recently I saw an incredible calendar created by the artist Kat Shaw. She had drawn women’s bodies that had had ****** cancer. The paintings are done with such love you can see that in every brush stroke. But Kat has taken the Japanese art of Kintsugi where broken things are fixed using gold and applied them to women’s bodies. Adding gold leaf and glitter to the scars, she shows the history of the body. The paintings of these women are even more magnificent. Kat calls them the “Golden Warriors”, I think they are incredibly beautiful.
We each have a choice
This is a journey of realisation. Our perspective of our bodies is everything. Whether we hold our head high with self-love and confidence or believe we aren’t good enough or are broken in some way, it’s our choice. I look at the paintings and see beauty. I look at my body and I see beauty. Kat is helping women to honour and cherish their bodies for the magnificent things they are.
Women reclaiming their bodies
I first came across Kat’s work as she started her series “And Still I Rise”. These were individual paintings of women with natural bodies not photoshop images. Each one had a story of over-coming adversity. “I survived sexual assault as a child… and still I rise” This picture is of a woman who had little regard for herself or her body as a teenager because of the abuse. Kat’s painting shows a strong woman, not a victim, a survivor. Women send pictures of themselves to Kat, who lovingly paints them.
Women are reclaiming their bodies. These beautiful images of women who have survived sexual abuse, a brain tumour, dissociative identity disorder, survived childhood sexual abuse, show their strength and vulnerability. It creates a new narrative in our subconscious. Women’s bodies are beautiful because of the things we have been through. The stretch marks from pregnancy, scars, they all make our unique beauty. This raw and loving artwork allows us to see ourselves as the sexy beauties we are.
How do you want see yourself?
It’s time to stop the self-hate and find the parts of you that you love and celebrate them. Look at yourself in the mirror what words would you use to describe yourself? Majestic, breath-taking, remarkable, precious, noble, divine, radiant, tantalising, magnificent, fabulous, dignified, glorious, luscious. Do this often. Look the woman in the mirror in the eye and love her.
Kat’s works also show women realising how amazing they are, when they see themselves as others see them. It’s time to do this for yourself. Time to stop believing the cultural claptrap created to make you feel bad about yourself, so you’ll buy more stuff. It’s time to get rid of the guilt and shame, pull those threads from your tapestry. Step into the magnificence of who you are, your beauty shines from the inside you. It’s time to radiate your beauty!
Need a little more support on this journey?
If you want more support join me for 4 one-hour online coaching sessions: Love Who You Are. It’s time to reconnect with your mind, body and soul. Monday 30th November- Thursday 3rd December 7-8pm (London) These are FREE online coaching workshops, my gift. I know how hard it can be and I want to help women feel good about themselves. Please share these powerful workshops with friends, and sign up it’s important to take time to nurture ourselves.