Is Your Relationship With Your Body Hurting Your Relationship With Your Partner?
Most of us women intuitively understand that our relationship with our body has a big impact. It affects not only how we feel about the way we look, but also our self confidence as we present ourselves to the world.
Yesterday I had a somewhat unusual session.
One of my regular male clients came in to talk with me. He said his girlfriend’s relationship with her body had become an issue in their relationship.
My client said that if he told his girlfriend that he likes her curves, he said that she interprets that message to mean that she is “fat.”
“If she lost any weight, she would be too skinny,” my male client confided in me.
As we all know, what someone looks like on the outside frequently does not match what she feels like on the inside.
Understanding that she needs to feel better about herself, he had been making an effort to tell her that he thinks she is beautiful.
However, when he makes those comments, she also interprets those remarks in ways he does not intend, as if he were trying to come on to her sexually.
He was bewildered about what to do, so I gave him some advice:
- Understand that no matter what your female partner looks like on the outside, all women have a very strong inner critic about what she perceives as wrong with her body. The voice of this inner critic is so loud it’s hard for women to hear anybody else.
- The average woman compares herself to an ideal – not an actual person. This ideal is presented to us in countless fashion magazines. Even though we intellectually understand that these pictures have been photoshopped, we still compare ourselves to them anyway. Men don’t understand this because if they compare themselves to anybody, they compare themselves to actual in the flesh human beings.
- This strong internal critic can never be satisfied. If a woman loses 10 lbs., gets a new outfit or hair style, in her mind there is still something else that needs to changed, lost or corrected about her body.
- Women do not see their bodies the way that men see the female form. If they did, there would be much fewer body image problems among women.
- Men and women interpret criticism totally differently. Men have filters that allow them to consider the source of any disparaging comments, then to weigh whether or not that comment is true, then whether fixing the problem is important to them at this time or whether the issue needs to be shelved until later. Women lack these internal filters and take any perceived criticism to heart immediately, often being able to recall disparaging comments verbatim even years later. Most men already understand that they need to be careful when talking to a woman about her body.
- You think that the most important work you need to do about your body is on the outside – i.e., keeping your weight under control, dressing well, styling your hair, making up your face. This is a major mistake.
- No amount of outer improvement that you do can make up for a lack of inner self acceptance. If you are dieting and exercising, realize that you must also do your inner work or the outer changes will not last. Just ask anybody who has lost 50 lbs. and gained it all right back.
- When you take the time to do the inner work to be more comfortable with yourself – including and most especially about the way you look – you free yourselves from an obsession that is making you neurotic, unhappy, miserable and frankly self centered. Therefore taking the time and spending the money to work on your body image is not only not selfish, it may be the most important thing you ever do for your relationship with your partner.
- When you feel beautiful on the inside, that is exactly what you will project to the entire world. Don’t you know plenty of women who have every hair in place but who appear totally miserable and make other people feel that way also?
- Ask your partner to explain to you how he sees your body. This may be a stretch for you. Be quiet and listen as he tells you what he appreciates about your curves, about the softness of your skin, about your smell and everything else he finds special about you. Then, for a few minutes every day, practice appreciating about yourself what he appreciates about you. Realize he would not be with you if he didn’t already like many things about the way you look.
My male client was excited, relieved and empowered as a result of our conversation. He couldn’t wait to go home and talk to his partner, knowing now what to say and do to help her feel better about herself.
I use kinesiology to clear core beliefs about our self image. I can muscle test quite precisely how you really feel deep down about your body and use kinesiology to help you change the way you feel about yourself.
Take the time to heal the way you feel about your body and watch all relationships improve.