‘I know I’m not as beautiful as some women’ says Janice, a 56-year-old divorced company director, mother of three, ‘so I can’t be too choosy’. Tania, a 31-year-old Swedish solicitor, has a different problem. ‘I know I’m attractive to men – I’m young, fit, blonde, and have a great figure,’ she explains, ‘but I don’t trust that men really want ME, the real me.’
We are at a Diamond Light Tantra Level 2 weekend workshop, called Opening to Love. Women and men have separated for a couple of hours, and I’m with the women, who are exploring body image, how the feel about their physical bodies, and how this affects their self-esteem, sexual and relational self-confidence, and their capacity to receive love. The men are in another room, doing something similar.
They are in groups of 3 women, each taking turns to talk about their bodies, and share what they like, what they don’t like, and how they feel about themselves as sexual women. The next stage is to receive positive feedback from the other two women in each group. Julia receives the following comments: ‘I love the softness of your skin, and the kindness in your eyes’ she is told. ‘You move so gracefully. Your body is luscious and inviting, soft and feminine’. At age 40, this curvaceous, intelligent and independent nurse has never fully received compliments like this from other women. ‘I’ve heard them from men’ she tells them, ‘but I didn’t really trust that it was true, as I’ve always suspected that they had a secondary motive’.
At the end of the exercise we all stand in a circle and look around at each other. Two hours earlier we had been practically strangers to each other. Now, each woman glowed with an inner light, and was more in touch with, and accepting of, her own unique expression of beauty and womanliness.
Janice is visibly more relaxed. ‘I know I have a big belly’ she shares, ‘but I also have big breasts to go with it. It’s who I am, I’m a big persona, I’m strong and caring. My belly is saggy because it’s carried my 3 children, one of them a ceasarian section. I wouldn’t change this for anything.’ She exudes acceptance, pride and dignity. It’s easy to see how genuine older men would find a woman like this attractive, if they weren’t obsessed with the idealized image of a 20-year-old waif.
Tantric Tip – Enhancing Attractiveness
How attractive do you imagine you are to the other sex? What do you imagine they judge, or find unattractive in you? What do you think they will cherish in you?
Your judgments and beliefs about yourself will affect others’ perceptions of you. As you become more loving towards yourself, your partner or potential partners will likewise see you in a more positive light.
Stand in front of a full-length mirror. Look yourself up and down, head to toe. Make a list of what you don’t like about your body, and why. Write it down. Don’t dwell on them, just list them.
Describe in writing what you do like, or love about your body.
If you have a partner, read them your two lists. Ask them not to comment, but just to listen in silence. Then sit in front of them, naked, and ask them to tell you what they love and find attractive in you – only the positives!
If you are single, read your writings to two friends of the same sex as you (this can be on separate occasions), and then ask them to tell you 3 things that they really like about you in your body – these can be aspects of your body, and also your body as a whole. Write these down and stick them to your mirror!
Notice how you feel about yourself.