Touch is a fundamental requirement for humans. We crave it. It’s how we communicate our care for each other. Touch is so important that orphaned babies in Romania were dying without it! (Once the carers started to pick the babies up and give them cuddles, the mortality rate dropped instantly.) However, receiving touch can be really difficult for people who have had abusive experiences (whether in childhood or later in life). Given that it is so important for our emotional and physical well-being, this can be a problem!
As a bodyworker, touch is the centre of everything I do. I know lots of people who don’t like to be touched. They never book massages or facials. If they received a Spa voucher for Christmas, they’d be horrified. The thought of a stranger touching them sends them into panic. It’s possible that this is because of past abusive experiences. It may also be due to imprinting or conditioning passed down from someone else in the family. Sometimes we take on other people’s stuff. We don’t always know why we have strong feelings about things. For sufferers of direct abuse though, it’s more than just a dislike, it can cause real panic.
If that sounds like you or someone you love, then please read on.
Cellular memory is retained in the body. Every experience is recorded and stored. The good news is that it is possible to release this stuff and reprogram it with touch that is conscious, loving and clear in its intent.
If you don’t have a safe sexual partner or friend to do this with, then find a bodyworker (massage, kinesiology, reiki, etc.) that you can trust. Someone who works with energy as well as the body would be ideal. If even this is too challenging for you, then start with yourself.
Start in the shower. Get to know your body. Use a nice scented body wash or good quality soap and really connect with yourself and your body. You live in here! You should be friends with it. Make an effort to look at yourself in the mirror when you are naked. Even if it’s just for a few seconds at a time at first. Increase the time slowly, until you can really meet yourself there.
Notice what thoughts come up as you begin to see yourself. How you talk to yourself is important. Maybe you need to change what you say. Write post-it notes or love letters in lipstick on your bathroom mirror to remind you. Limit the negative commentary and work on eliminating it altogether. (I changed the label on my iPhone alarm to say “Get up, lovely one.” Every time you hear positive and loving words about yourself, you are programming your psyche to accept them. It all counts!)
Next, get a really nice body lotion in a scent you love, or use coconut oil. Make it your daily ritual, after your shower or bath to take the time to moisturize and nourish your skin. Connect with yourself. Notice how your muscles feel under your skin. Take your time and make it about conscious self-nurturing. Don’t be tempted to rush or skip it. Make this a commitment to yourself. It’s a good health check strategy also. You will notice various lumps and bumps and can keep an eye on them – if they change or feel sinister – go to the doctor!
Dress yourself in fabrics that are soft and feel nice on your skin. You are teaching yourself that there is touch that feels nice, that is safe. Dress yourself well. Choose styles that are flattering. You are learning to fall in love with yourself. Start making yourself more attractive. Get your hair cut and styled. Take yourself out to places where you can feel sun and wind on your bare skin. Revel in sensations. Walk barefoot on soft sand or grass. Take baths. Swim naked. Touch yourself.
Just start where you feel safe. You don’t have to do it all at once. If you need help getting started and you’d like someone to keep you accountable on this journey, then maybe do this work with a friend or your coach.
More on Loving Touch.
If you want to change the quality of people that you are attracting into your life, then you must start sending out some clear messages about what you feel you deserve.
Don’t accept touch that you don’t completely desire. Even in a regular sexual partner. Start saying No. Set boundaries. It’s OK to want something better. Let the Universe know what you want, AND what you don’t want!
We get a lot of what we are used to. We get what we accept. Set the bar higher for yourself. And believe that you deserve it. Nobody else will believe you until you do. X