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Befriending Our Bodies

Respect Yourself

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As your mind works its way from your toes to the tip of your head, feel free to touch your body -- lightly, if that feels good, or more firmly if you prefer. Feel the textures of your skin, the swell of your full areas and the dip of the parts that cling close to you. Try not to fret over whether any part of you is imperfect. Even the photos of high fashion models are airbrushed. Real humans contain blemishes that sometimes we call beauty marks. Focus instead upon how your body feels to you. Is it smooth? Firm? Soft? Rough?

Touch your thighs and your hips. Explore your genitals and learn their contours. Feel the swell or the hollow of your belly and the rush of your breasts. If you have scars, trace your fingertips gently along them and feel their power. Take a moment to think about the stories they tell and what medals of valor they are.

Perhaps your time alone with your body, your friend, will be pleasant and soothing. Perhaps you'll drift into a nap or even enjoy a certain amount of sensual self-stimulation. Allow yourself these pleasant moments. Perhaps some night soon when you're tucked into bed and feeling drowsy your mind can drift from your feet to your head again, dallying along the way in favorite spots. Again, don't worry about how you look. Focus on how you feel.

Eventually you may feel comfortable enough to try "mirror work." This is a technique in which we look at our bodies with honest eyes, while touching what we see. Some women find this emotionally painful, yet very liberating. If you decide to give it a try, remember that it may be something you need to do in short sessions. Don't be surprised if you eventually discover that the tummy you've spoken so unkindly to on so many occasions is a wonderful smooth mound that provides you with comfort when you stroke it. Or perhaps you'll find that the dry skin you've always loathed is a pleasure to rub with scented lotion.

Befriending our bodies is a continual process. There is so much to learn, and so much to explore. Just as you didn't learn all of your other friends' secrets immediately, your body's secrets will come to you over time.

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