Yesterday, I was brought in as a consultant to a big company that wanted insights into what made women feel good about themselves. What makes a woman feel sexy? How can she sustain that feeling if she can get there? I love questions that ask "How?" The honest truth is that on most days, for many women — our self image can really take a beating.
Many of us want to be seen as hot and sexy. And perhaps most of all, we want to feel like those women look in those women's magazines sipping a Margarita with knowing smoky eyes. We just know that they are about to have the most incredible experiences in the universe. Right? Maybe? Who knows but sometimes I feel confronted by them.
Seeing those images can make me feel just not enough. More than that — it is this feeling that I will never have in my life what I truly want because I don't look like that. And it really doesn't matter how old you are, it can be really hard to look like the images of women that we are surrounded with on a daily basis. This is not news. But it's impact on women is still real.
And what is it that I want, and what many women want? It's a simple thing really...I want to be deeply desired, and feel free in my body. I want to be able to know that I am sexy from the inside out and truly believe it — all the time! I want to be able to walk around naked and not worry about my behind shaking in a bad way. Perhaps this is simply universal. After all, I coach hundreds of women and they want it too — very badly. This is what I hear from some of my clients:
"I want to get so lost in my own wanton sexiness that orgasms flow from me like a waterfall. I don't want much — I just want to dance in my own inner sexy wildness! Is that asking for so much?"
I get it.
They are not alone, and sometimes I have really been confronted with my own self loathing. It is shocking that I can still go to those places of calling myself names. After all, this true confession is being spoken by a woman who has professed to the world that I have conquered body shame and self acceptance by embracing my sexual pleasure.
Am I a fraud — or am I simply real and honest? The fact is, that I have healed so much of the damage that I have walked around with for most of my life when it comes to my body image and my sexuality.
But everyday, when I wake up and my feet touch the ground, it takes a little bit of courage to love myself just as I am — and that is the truth. To say anything else would be to over promise healing like those 30 day miracle diets on television.
Recently in The Wall Street Journal was a great article, "Conquering Fear," which is all about those nasty little voices in our heads that tell us that we are not enough — that we are fat and stupid. That our bodies are ugly and that our boss hates us.
I know those tapes so well that I could sing along! My book Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner is all about my funny, sexy, unconventional path to falling in love with myself again in the most unbelievable way... And I did.
But on my book tour there were all of these videos being made of me so that people can get to know me — and I get to watch them over and over again.
Every time I watch them — I get taken out of how I was "feeling" when I made those videos and I get stuck in how I believe I look. I hate my neck. My face is too round. I have a double chin in that angle. And I stop feeling sexy. Instead I get filled with self doubt and worry.
You see — I am a real woman. Isn't that reassuring? I am not going to give you pleasure platitudes and tell you that if you do this or that all of your inner fears will go away completely. They don't. But it can get better.
This is what I can promise. If you work on embracing who you are, every single day just like a religious practice — things will change in your world.
In so many ways, it is like developing a healthy eating and exercising plan. There is a lot of self-encouragement and coaching that has to happen. I have to do it too — even now.
The voices of fear that tell us that we are not enough — or are broken in some way — don't ever really go completely away.
I hope that by showing up and being honest about how I feel and how I move through all of the hatefulness that I can throw at myself will inspire you to do it too. The fact is that most of the time these days — I feel smoking! I have a swagger to my step and kick to my heels. I dress like a diva with a wink! And I still feel bad about my neck a lot. You see — I still have really big moments of self loathing. It's all a part of the process...
Self loving is a practice. Feeling sexy is a practice. Let's practice together.
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To learn about Pamela Madsen's retreat's just for women: "Back to The Body: A Sensuous Retreat For Women" go here.