Inhibitions, fears and inhibitions often limit our freedom to express ourselves. They prevent us from accepting ourselves as we truly are and stop us from enjoying life to the fullest. However, as women, it is important to challenge these limiting beliefs, especially when it comes to our relationship with our bodies. In this blog post, we explore the cultural and historical origins of inhibitions, the ways in which they limit our experience of life, and the steps we can take to overcome them and reclaim our bodies.
Inhibitions are inherited
The cultural and historical roots of inhibition lie in the patriarchal notion of shame and guilt surrounding women’s bodies. From an early age, women are taught that they should hide their bodies and not talk about them, and that sexuality is shameful. This conditioning fosters an environment where women often feel defined by the perceived imperfections of their bodies, leading to a lack of self-confidence and self-acceptance. To overcome these inhibitions, it is important to recognize and challenge these societal constructs and understand that body shaming is an expression of oppression and control.
Beginning the journey: Acknowledging our emotions
In order to overcome inhibitions and accept our bodies, we must first acknowledge our feelings. It is normal to feel fear, shame and self-doubt when exploring your body and sexuality. However, it’s important to understand that these feelings are not unique to you. Most women experience similar things and with time and practice, they can be overcome. Learning to accept and understand your body’s natural responses is an effective way to overcome inhibitions and experience more intimacy with yourself and others.
The role of the peer group in overcoming inhibitions
Another way to overcome inhibitions is to surround yourself with a supportive community. It can be difficult to challenge social norms on your own. Therefore, being involved in a supportive community can promote positive self-esteem and a sense of belonging. Building a group of allies to explore their sexuality, feelings and desires can create a supportive and empowering space for personal growth.
A sorority or similarly structured sorority can be such a place to find supportive allies and create a space for personal growth. Sororities are often social organizations based on shared values, interests or goals that foster a strong community of women. Here are some reasons why a sorority can be a positive space for exploring sexuality, feelings and desires:
- Common Values: Sororities are often built on shared values such as friendship, sisterhood, empowerment, and personal growth. This creates a foundation for open conversation and support among members.
- Common experiences: Because members often go through similar life stages, they can better empathize with each other’s experiences. This facilitates the exchange of thoughts and feelings around topics such as physicality and sexuality.
- Trusting environment: A sorority can provide a trusting environment where members can express themselves freely without fear of prejudice or judgment. This creates space for open discussions about personal developments and challenges.
- Community support: Sorority members are often eager to support each other. Through shared activities, events and meetings, women can build positive relationships and encourage each other.
- Mentorship and support: Older members can often serve as mentors and share their experiences. This can be particularly helpful when it comes to challenging societal norms around sexuality and body image.
However, it is important to note that not all sororities have the same values and atmosphere. Each sorority is unique, and it is advisable to choose one that suits your individual needs and interests. The most important thing is to find a space that provides support, understanding and empowerment to achieve personal growth goals.
Overcoming inhibitions through dance
Dance can be a powerful body-based method to free you from constricting inhibitions. Here are some steps you can go through to approach your own physicality through dance:
- Mindfulness and self-awareness: The first stage involves being mindful of one’s own body. This can be done through breathing exercises, meditation or simple movements in which you pay attention to the sensations in your body.
- Movement exploration: In this phase you start to try out different types of movements. The focus is on discovering one’s own physical expression, independent of external judgments or expectations.
- Free Expression: You begin to express yourself more freely, without worrying about conventions or norms. This could include experimenting with unconventional movements or exploring feelings through dance.
- Dancing barefoot: Dancing without shoes can create a deeper connection to the floor and to one’s physicality. It allows for a more direct sense of the ground and promotes an awareness of one’s stability and grounding.
- Removing certain items of clothing: Consciously choosing not to wear certain items of clothing, such as a bra, can be a liberation from social norms. It allows you to accept your body in its natural form and promotes a sense of freedom and self-acceptance. If you are in a safe environment, you should definitely try dancing completely naked. It may take a little effort at first, but the feeling is unique.
- Improvisation and creative self-expression: In this phase you begin to use dance as a creative expression. Improvisation plays a major role and the movements arise spontaneously from the moment.
- Community and shared experiences: If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to let go of your inhibitions when dancing at parties, mixers or other public places. Sharing experiences and dancing with others can boost your self-confidence and create a supportive environment for your personal development.
The function of dancing barefoot and not wearing certain types of clothing is to break down barriers between the body and the environment. Dancing barefoot enables a more direct connection to the earth and emphasizes the sensuality of movement. Forgoing certain items of clothing, such as a bra, can be seen as a liberation from social norms and encourages people to accept their own body in its natural form. Both practices promote a deeper understanding and a more positive relationship with one’s own body.
Overcoming inhibitions as a female hero’s journey
Overcoming culturally and historically determined inhibitions and developing a positive approach to one’s own body can be seen as a kind of female hero’s journey. Here are some steps that could represent this journey:
- The Call of Adventure: The protagonist feels an inner dissatisfaction and an urge for change. She realizes that cultural norms and societal expectations are influencing her view of her own body.
- The wisdom of the mentor: The protagonist finds inspiration in role models such as Isadora Duncan or Lotti Huber, who had the courage to break traditional norms. These mentors encourage her to begin her own journey of self-discovery.
- The Rejection of the Call: At first, the protagonist is reluctant to leave the beaten path. Social expectations and personal insecurities hold her back. But the inner urge for authenticity becomes stronger.
- The encounter with adversaries: The protagonist encounters social prejudices that reinforce her inhibitions. Criticism, shame and doubt become adversaries on her journey.
- The tests and trials: The protagonist confronts her own insecurities and fears. She experiments with new forms of expression, be it through movement, art or conscious self-awareness.
- The inner revelation: At a crucial moment, the protagonist realizes that her own perception of her body is more important than the opinions of others. She begins to accept and celebrate her individuality.
- The return with the elixir: The protagonist returns to society stronger and more self-confident. Her new approach to her own body inspires other women to overcome their own inhibitions.
- Integration: The protagonist integrates her newfound self-acceptance into her daily life. She advocates for the liberation from social barriers and for a positive body image.
- The change in the world: The protagonist becomes an advocate of self-love and body acceptance. Her influence helps to change cultural norms and create space for diversity and authenticity.
This hero’s journey symbolizes a woman’s journey from insecurity and inhibitions to a confident and positive approach to her own body.
Overcoming inhibitions and embracing our bodies is a path to self-acceptance and self-determination. Breaking away from the societal notion that “women should be ashamed of their bodies” is crucial for our wellbeing and development. Recognizing and challenging the harmful societal constructs that cultivate inhibition is the first step to overcoming them. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community, acknowledging your feelings and participating in activities that promote self-love and acceptance can help you overcome these paralyzing beliefs. The road to body acceptance and self-determination may be long and difficult, but it is worth traveling.