It’s early 2021 and we’re nearly a full year into the pandemic. If you’re anything like me then your social media feeds will be awash with various advice columns on how to self-care and self-love during this challenging time. They tell you to practice affirmations, go for a run, and self-soothe with wine or bath bombs.
As a Sex and Power coach, I work with clients to experience the purity and expansiveness of their sexuality and power. The journey into the depths of both of these things is undoubtedly a journey into Love. However, when I am supporting clients to come into greater Self-Love, my practice doesn’t rest on bath bombs, or affirmations.
Many proclaimed Self-Love practices are actually types of avoidant behaviours, wrapped up in a nice pink bow. There’s nothing inherently wrong with avoidant behaviours, if you’re using them consciously, and they are supporting you to resource. We actually need avoidant behaviours - from releases like gymming or boozing, to wholesome escapism like reading and nature walks. But these actions on their own won’t bring about the true Self-Love that you long for.
The secret to Self-Love is that it involves facing your icks, pains, and shames. It’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s a radical act, that allows you to come into greater synergy with the world around you, your loved ones, your not-so-loved ones, and that face in the mirror.
In order to walk that path, you need come into your body and your feelings. Modern society has taught us to dissociate from how we really feel. We intellectualise, crack jokes, work, go to the gym, and do a myriad things to keep busy. This Pandemic has forced so many of us to slow down, but how many of us have been able to take this opportunity to truly meet our Self-Love needs, vs binge another series on Netflix?
Thankfully, the magic dark fairy of Self-Love has waved her wand, and granted us all a few more days and nights on the pandemic carousel. So if you fancy learning to really love that being in the mirror, then explore the below:
Give Your Body Some Lovin’: Many of us only touch our own bodies when we are horny, bored, or stressed. It’s normally goal-oriented, and doesn’t last very long! To love your body, set at least an hour aside. Set your room up as though preparing for an amazing date. Candles, music, coconut oil. Ask your body, how does it want to be touched right now? Maybe it wants light and comforting strokes. Maybe it wants to explore something kinkier. The point is to be really present with what your body wants, without focusing on any particular climax.
Pillow Punch: Anger is important for knowing and owning our boundaries, and being able to trust our decisions. Without truly owning your “no,” you don’t truly own your “yes.” This isn’t an excuse to blame anyone. Give it to your pillow: punch, pound, and scream into it.
Move n’ Shake: Usually we try to discipline our bodies. Having good body discipline doesn’t mean listening to its needs (and with that your, desires, fears, longings and boundaries). Some of my most disconnected clients are dancers and PTs. Listening to your body involves getting out your head. I recommend shaking like it’s 4am at a rave. Create movement and sensation.
Cry Me A River: There’s a lot to be sad about at the moment, personally and collectively. Be courageous enough to open your heart to pain. Our emotions work on a continuum. When you crack open your heart to sadness, you expand your capacity for joy and bliss.
And finally… Grab a glass of wine. After all that you’ve deserved it.
Lauren is a Sex and Power coach. Find her on Instagram: @lauren__cooney. She’s co-running The Love Revolution in March, a one day online retreat.