If you have ever felt bad about your body, like you have too much cellulite, too many wrinkles and too many pounds, pimples, dandruff, a small chest, and ugly toes you are not alone. Everyone in this culture suffers from what I call the body blues at some point in their adolescent and adult lives. And the body blues can have a profound impact on your love relationship.
If you are in a couple, research on a number of “body imperfections” shows that in almost all cases the person with the “flaw” is more upset about it than his/her partner. Recently, I was a spokesperson for the National Psoriasis Foundation and was asked to give advice to people with this disorder. The studies of couples in which one person had moderate to severe psoriasis clearly showed that the person with the skin disorder was far more emotionally reactive than the partner. So there’s an important lesson to be learned here: You are taking your imperfection far more seriously than your partner is. So take a step back and reap the benefits of being in a loving relationship.
Here are three simple exercises that are from a recent issue of my Dating Tips & Relationship Advice Newsletter>. Follow this relationship advice and you will be on your way to greater intimacy and fewer worries about your physical issues.
Exercises to Banish the Body Blues.
Body Blues Exercise #1. Partner Affirmation.
Ask your partner for affirmations by having him/her highlight your features that he/she thinks are particularly attractive or beautiful. Write out these partner affirmations in the form of statements like, Herb loves my gorgeous waist. Post them in a private place where you can read them often. Share and affirm what you appreciate about your partner. This exercise will help you with your positive thinking practice and bring you much closer together.
Body Blues Exercise #2. Be a Straight Shooter.
If you don’t communicate your concerns about your body issues to your partner, he or she may think that the reason that you are acting distant or don’t want to be intimate has to do with them. The result: often he or she feels rejected. So be open and honest about how you are feeling when you are down about your body. This will give your partner a chance to be understanding and not hurt by your pulling back. By the way, such sharing often leads to a wonderful physical encounter that occurs spontaneously!
Body Blues Exercise #3. Arrange Ten Minute Listening Sessions with your Partner.
In these sessions, one person gets to talk, free associate, say whatever is on their minds while the other SIMPLY LISTENS with full attention. The listener does not speak. If the talker has a silent period, she/he should just say “Nothing is coming to mind.” No matter what, use a clock and honor a full ten minute session—as if you were paying a therapist for their time! When the speaker’s time is over, switch roles and let the person who’s been listening have their ten minutes to talk. Using this exercise you can learn to have deep compassion and understanding for each other.
By practicing these three simple exercises, you can alleviate many of the psychological and relationship problems that are often caused by the body blues. And don’t forget to read part 1 of this series, called Five Tips to Banish Feeling Fat.
Wishing you love,