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Befriending Our Bodies

Respect Yourself

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

It doesn't matter whether our bodies are fat or thin, tall or short, old or young -- women of all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, philosophies, social classes and sexual preferences have problems relating to their own bodies. If we find the sight of our own nudity disturbing or unappealing, it's very hard to feel comfortable sharing that nudity with others and experiencing any of the pleasure, satisfaction, and closeness that sexuality can provide.

What can we do about this? How can we make friends with our bodies?

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Imagine for a moment that you've never formally met your body before. Oh, perhaps you've seen it straightening some pillows or shopping at the grocery store. But that's hardly a real introduction.

Find some time to meet yourself as though you've never met before. Choose a time when you have no pressing responsibilities and can relax. You may prefer to make several short dates with yourself. The important thing is to really want to meet this person you've heard so much about.

Find a place where you can be alone and comfortable. Put on some relaxing music, something that makes you feel good and won't distract you from your thoughts. Get in a comfortable position on your bed, the couch, a set of cushions, or the floor, and allow your mind and body to relax. You're here to meet a new friend and that friend is very near to you now. If you're comfortable with your own nudity, allow yourself to be naked. If you prefer to remain covered, wear something loose that feels good against your skin.

As you rest and allow the music to relax you, think about the various parts of your body: your toes, your feet, your ankles and calves. Think about the hard work they go through every day to get you from here to there. Maybe they don't always move you as quickly or as gracefully as you'd like them to, but they do the best they can. Isn't that what friends are for? Inside your mind, move up your body and take special note of each working part. What do the various aspects of your body do for you on a daily basis? Are there some things you could do for them in thanks? Maybe a dip in a hot tub or a massage? Maybe just a fluffy wash cloth for your next bath.

Don't focus on whether or not you think one body part is prettier than any other. Just think about how nice it is that they stick around and help you out. But they can't do it alone. They need a friend who will take care of them and reward them for a job well done.

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