Can you provide helpful tips for women who struggle with their own body image once they open their mind to open or polyamorous relationships? I have always had a bad view of myself, then I found a wonderful partner who made those insecurities all disappear. Then I brought them back by the thought of wanting to open our relationship. You see, I’m bisexual and wouldn’t mind another beautiful woman to join the pleasure. But then insecurities come into play. So I’m looking for help to work on self-healing. I am a rape survivor, and a domestic abuse survivor. And have been fat shamed by all of my ex-partners! My past experience in relationships has never been the best.
First, I want to honor your journey and your vulnerable sharing. It takes courage to share your very real past pains and how it is affecting you today, as well as what your deepest desires are. I honor you sharing your truth with us, as well as you living life on your terms – not what society is putting down for you on the conveyor belt of life. Owning your bisexuality as well as desire for open relationships is such a brave act! Oftentimes as we strive for greatness, we have to build new muscle and learn new skills to get to where we want to go.
Here is what I have for you in terms of helpful tips to guide you along your path…
Heal the Past with Empathy + Forgiveness (for Self and Others)
I am so sorry that you feel that you were fat-shamed in the past by previous partners. No doubt that had a negative impact on your sense of self-worth. I am so glad that you are no longer in those toxic relationships. Please give yourself some grace. A big truth for all of us is when we know better, we do better. So keep in mind the gift in this situation of – you learned what you DON’T want in relationships and what you will no longer tolerate. Yes! It’s also powerful to know that we teach others how to treat us. That younger version of you may have tolerated that fat-shaming. But the “you” of today will not allow that type of behavior. You have built that muscle now. Own your sense of self-worth by knowing you deserve to be treated with kindness, respect, and dignity regardless of the number that shows up on your scale. We are more than just our body size and shape! I invite you to practice empathy, for both yourself and others who maybe didn’t know any better at the time that they were in your life. Keep in mind that not forgiving is like you taking poison hoping that the other person will die. That doesn’t make any logical sense and is not healthy for you either. Self-care is often about forgiveness and empathy.
Start Becoming Deeply Present
I know there is trauma in your past, yet there is a gift in the present moment. NOW is such a gift – that’s why it is called the “present.” This is such a simple concept, but most people don’t put their focus in the here and now. So often, we are in one activity today thinking about another activity tomorrow. This is a huge detachment from the moment we are in right now. Are you fully present reading this article, or are you thinking about or doing something else also? We all know what it feels like when we talk to someone and we know they are not present. How does that make you feel when you are speaking about your challenges and that person is not there for you. Lonely? Unseen? Connecting with and caring for someone else can take our focus off of our own perceived problems. Just quiet your mind and do the work of being deeply present – to other people, to the task at hand. Instead of just being present, we can make matters worse by drifting off to the past or the future. So many of us are arguing with what is. That is how we create our own suffering. For victims of trauma, what is even worse than the actual original trauma itself is re-living it over and over and over in your mind, living in the past!
Be fully present to today – the here and now – and to your dream and the life you want to create. Concentrating on just one thing is one of the hardest things to do. But we can build that muscle. Turn off the TV, breathe, and be present to the outcome we deeply desire. Do it constantly. When doing gratitude work, nothing else should be on your mind. It’s leaning into the feeling and being fully present to gratitude. How will living your best life feel? Feel it now. Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you already have.
If you have blocks around this, you can work with a coach to help you uncover limiting beliefs that are holding you back, and replace those with empowering beliefs.
Own Your Courageous Greatness Within
You are always and in all ways greater than you think you are. What is the identity, traits, and qualities that you want to claim for yourself right now – that superhero inside of you? Build and connect to your dream… your own castle… right now. What do you really REALLY want? What would that feel like when you get there? Breathe, put yourself into the energy of how that superhero inside of you is going to feel when you reach your goal.
Ask yourself: What intelligent inspired action would that superhero do to reach my goal? Would they create a profile on a polyamorous-friendly dating app, like #Open or OKC, then get out there and start having digital dates with exciting people? Would they read an inspiring book like “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sicero on repeat? Would they get an online physical fitness trainer or start taking up a new sport to strengthen both your mind and your body, turning that negative body image 180 degrees? Once you get your mindset going in the right direction, that’s when you can start taking intelligent action pointed to your North Star of what you deeply desire. Take action, move your mind towards your goal, and your body along with it, and make yourself strong – inside and out.
Get Professional Help for Intensive Trauma Work / Healing
Through coaching with a professionally certified coach and self-work, it is possible to get oneself to a much, MUCH better place. However, if there is deep-seated unresolved trauma, it can be incredibly important as well as beneficial to work with a therapist or psychologist. This type of healer can help you unpack your trauma history and then process and integrate it. Yes, it can be scary to do this inner work, yet doing this healing courageously with someone holding your hand through the process can bring about sustainable change not only in YOUR life, but for those you are in close relationships with too. Remember that at the end of the day, it is your responsibility to take ownership of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Oftentimes, that means getting the professional support that you need. There are many great professionals, yet a psychotherapist I can highly recommend that can help with unresolved past trauma is a colleague of mine, Jessica Fern Cooley (jessicafern.com). Why let past pains interfere with who you really want to be and the life you want to live? It’s your life after all! Make it great by taking a stand for yourself and your happiness!
With love and gratitude,
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