8. Learn to like what you see when you look in the mirror.
Stop approaching the mirror in search of flaws that need fixing. Instead, approach the mirror and take a moment or two to affirm the things you like. Surely you have a few features from the earlier inventory – your hair, your eyes, your nose, your smile, your shoulders, your hourglass shape — that you enjoy looking at. Start with those, then you can look to see if there is lipstick on your teeth, mascara shadows under your eyes, or a hair out of place. Once you correct that issue, admire the overall package once again and walk away encouraged.
When a woman likes what she sees in the mirror, she exudes an aura that invites others to celebrate what they see when they look her direction as well. People are often uncomfortable being around a woman who is insecure about her beauty. She feels like a leech, sucking the life out of others as she fishes for the compliment that just might convince her that she does have something – anything — worth admiring. Don’t be one of those women. Exude confidence.
9. Learn to love who you see in the mirror.
Maybe you think I’m being redundant here, but there’s a huge difference between liking what you see and loving who you see. In my earliest seasons of womanhood, I liked what I saw when I looked at my body in the mirror, but I didn’t love who I saw at all. I had such little love for her that I shared my body too freely, hoping to gain from someone else what I couldn’t give myself – true love. It never worked.
In later seasons, I learned to love who I saw (the inside), but I didn’t like what I saw (the outside). Age was beginning to take its toll on my body, and in my mid-thirties I had to come to grips with the fact that I was never going to have the body of a fifteen-year-old again, no matter how hard I exercised or dieted. It seemed all would be down-hill from here. But finally, in my early forties, I’ve learned to do both — love who I am, and like what I see. Together, there is synergy, and this synergy creates great confidence.
10. Teach other women how to treat themselves.
Don’t fall into the poor self-image pit that someone else digs. We often attempt to make others feel better by dragging ourselves to an even lower level. “You think you’re fat? Come on! Look at me!” we reply. In the movie Real Women Have Curves, four female coworkers begin lamenting about their bodies to one another. The first woman, average in size, says, “Look at me! I’m a cow!”
A slightly larger co-worker replies, “If you’re a cow, then I’m a hippo!”
The third woman, quite a full-figured gal, retorts, “Well, if you’re a hippo, then I’m an elephant!”
The last woman, the most voluptuous one of the bunch, chimes in, “If you’re a cow, and you’re a hippo, and you’re an elephant, then I’m Orca!”
Rather than riding that downward escalator with someone who is bashing her body, reply to her woes with a word of encouragement such as, “Hey! Don’t talk about my friend that way! I think she’s stunningly beautiful just the way she is!” Avoid falling in the pit yourself, and try pulling her out as well.
Remember, the perfect body doesn’t automatically equate to happiness, nor do we have to postpone happiness until we have the perfect body. Many celebrities and supermodels have what Hollywood considers the perfect body, but many of those women are never happy with themselves, which means they never feel truly sexually confident. They never win the wrestling match with the body image bear.
Know that happiness is a choice, and you can choose it now. Choosing happiness and self-acceptance can do as much (if not more) for your sexual confidence as losing those ten vanity pounds or getting any surgical procedure done.
Genuine, lasting happiness comes from befriending the body image bear – learning to be content with what we have, who we are, and what we are able to offer those that we love. And when a woman can offer her body with confidence that it’s something special, regardless of its size or shape, she is offering her husband the most beautiful thing imaginable – a sexually confident wife.
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Excerpted from The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting with Your Husband Mind*Body*Heart*Spirit by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008. All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.