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The holiday season is over which means that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Some look forward to a bouquet, a teddy bear, and a box of chocolates being delivered to their workplaces.
Others are in the trenches of the modern dating scene. We know it’s rough out there. Just by browsing through Reddit for two minutes, you’ll discover horror stories that will make you want to swear off romance forever (although these stories are very entertaining).
You’ve probably experienced some dating horror stories of your own. Naturally, your negative experiences may have made it difficult to open up and trust new people which is probably the most important part of starting a happy relationship whether that means a friends with benefits situation or a long-term partnership.
Unfortunately, certain thought patterns and behaviors that you use to protect yourself from getting hurt in your relationships get in the way of true intimacy. These are called intimacy blocks but luckily, there are ways to clear them to create the happy, healthy relationships that you deserve.
Most importantly, clearing your intimacy blocks will help you to foster a more positive dynamic in the most precious relationship of all - the relationship you have with yourself. Whether you’re cuffed or super single, you can benefit from letting love flow more easily into your life. Here are some practical ways to start doing that today!
How Do You Know If You Have Intimacy Blocks
Sometimes signs of intimacy blocks can be quite subtle. Many people who fear intimacy don’t notice for several years. What are some of the warning signs?
Inability To Commit When relationships get heavy or serious as they always do at some point, you notice an urge to run away.
Struggling With Physical Touch You may have intimacy blocks if you find it difficult to give and receive physical affection (though everyone’s natural comfort level with touching is different)
Over-Achieving Everyone likes to be successful but when all of your self-worth is wrapped up in achieving great things, this could be a sign that you don’t feel worthy of love just for being you.
Sabotaging Your Relationships Just when your relationship seems to be going swimmingly, you find yourself acting out. This doesn’t mean you’re unlovable. It means you have some major intimacy blocks to clear.
What To Do About The Choose To Love Your Body
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An extremely common intimacy block, especially when it comes to sexual intimacy is a negative body image. If you don’t love your appearance right now, it might be easy to believe that the way you feel about your body depends on how it looks in comparison to traditional beauty standards but in fact, loving your body is a choice.
By shifting the way you think about your body, taking care of it, and accepting it fully, you will eventually begin to feel more positively about it. This will likely make it much easier to enjoy certain aspects of life - dancing in public, enjoying fashion, and of course, comfortably sharing yourself with a partner. Try some of the following exercises to encourage self-love.
Use Movement To Feel Good Even if you don’t like working out at the gym, your body has a natural desire to move somehow. Whether your body loves dancing, walking, running, or yoga, you will feel healthier and sexier when you set time aside to move it! You’ll notice your body image improving quickly once you prioritize movement for the sake of enjoyment.
Find Things You Love In Other People’s Bodies Don’t get too creepy with this one but next time you’re in public, try people watching. There is beauty all around you, not just in fashion magazines and on Instagram. Try finding one thing about a stranger’s body that is beautiful to you. This exercise will make it easier to see the beautiful little details of your own body.
Practice Self-care Have you ever enjoyed an evening of self-care and wondered why you don’t pamper yourself more often because of how good it makes your body feel? Well, you can pamper yourself in little ways as much as you want to as self-care comes in so many different forms. It can involve a warm bubble bath, a face mask, moving your body, or a sensual solo session with your favorite toy.
Address Your Trauma
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Trauma is an extremely common reason for fearing intimacy. A history of being abandoned by loved ones, losing someone in death, abuse, and any other emotionally charged situation can cause a person to use unhealthy defense mechanisms to avoid getting hurt again.
Because digging up old trauma can be extremely painful and even scary, many people never address the roots of their intimacy blocks. They allow their trauma to stop them from experiencing closeness with another person. You deserve better than this.
Acknowledge Your Trauma Acknowledging your trauma, though intense, will allow you to begin your healing journey. Put your trauma into words by writing it down or speaking with a trusted loved one or professional.
Connect With Your Support System Don’t assume that you have to work through your trauma all alone. Identify the people in your life who sincerely care about you and prove to be supportive. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them and be vulnerable with them.
Seek Professional Help Sometimes, the support of loved ones isn’t enough to overcome trauma and that’s okay. In that case, see how you can get help from a licensed counselor in your area.
Be Patient With Yourself
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You won’t be able to clear your intimacy blocks overnight. Even when you start making progress and have an easier time letting people in, you’ll need to remember that progress isn’t linear and you will face setbacks. In those instances, it will pay off to be patient and compassionate with yourself.
Don’t beat yourself up when you find yourself struggling with intimacy. If you feel comfortable enough, try talking to partners about your intimacy blocks. That vulnerability in and of itself would be a sign of progress. In addition, it offers your partners the opportunity to understand your behavior.
Let this Valentine’s Day remind you how important love is. Self-love is the best place to start and Osuga is dedicated to creating toys that can help you achieve it.
Tosin is a freelance writer based in London Ontario. She loves to research and shares the things she learns with her readers. Visit her website here.