This February, we interviewed Andrea Balboni, Love, Relationships & Intimacy Coach, and founder of Lush Coaching, to get the real talk on what it means to truly love yourself. Since we hosted Andrea on our panel with Lone Design Club on Sensual Self-Care, we have been obsessed with deepening our understanding of intimacy. What we learnt is that, to be intimate with yourself is hard work! It takes practicing self-care, self-love, sensuality and desire. But what do those even mean? We asked this expert to find out...
Could you tell us a bit about who you are and what you do?
I’m a Love, Relationships and Intimacy coach. I mostly work with people who have been single for a really long time to create a healthy long-term partnership that lights them on fire.
What was your journey into this profession?
Truthfully, it was through my own personal development. Having been single for a decade and a half, and struggling to find partnership, I eventually lost touch with my own sensual nature.
At that time, I was working in technology and innovation, and I discovered that innovation is a beautiful space for creativity and it actually requires a deep understanding of what people want – and need.
Also during this time in parallel outside of work, I began to deepen my self awareness through yoga, tantra, reiki and shamanic practice. These explorations helped me to come back to my body. To understand myself more.
Then Layla Martin's Coaching Certificate Course landed on my lap and all the pieces fit together perfectly. Her course encompassed all that I had been already exploring and it also added the psychology piece that was missing for me.
It helped me understand through mind, body and emotional cues what was blocking me from expressing myself fully as a woman. Once I identified the blockers, I was able to then find ways to move forward. I learned to open my heart safely and soften into love.
What does self-love look like for you?
For me, self-love is…something I don’t practice enough!
It’s being kinder to yourself. It’s giving your critical voice a rest and allowing for a more compassionate and understanding voice to come forward.
It’s also giving myself downtime when I need it, going easier on myself, being less demanding, and being more generous with myself. The big one is: allowing myself to receive help.
Why is self-love important?
For one, it’s important because it makes you a nicer person to be around. The more love you shower yourself in, the easier it is for that love to overflow onto others.
Of course, it helps with your mental wellbeing, and for your heart to feel good and body to be healthy.
How do you practice sensual self-love?
Sex magic, of course! But seriously, one of my favourite ways to practice sensuality is to feel my erotic energy flowing through my entire body. Essentially you focus all your attention on your turn on. Visualise it. Feel it in your body and watch it move through different parts of your body.
More practically though, I just love touch. Sensual self-love for me has got to include lots of massage and lots of affection. That can be done on myself, or by my partner!
Hell yeah, we love a bit of sensual massage at WISP. So tell us then, what does it mean to desire?
Desire is sparked by mystery. When you want another, desire stems from wanting to know a deeper part of you. It’s a deeper way of self-knowing. When we desire another person we are really seeing ourselves. We are seeing the other parts of ourselves that we need to wake up.
Desire is mystery and discovery. Wanting to know the other and yourself as well. It’s a curious self-exploration.
How can we manifest our desires?
Sometimes a desire wants action. You can desire someone or something, and you do it. Sometimes a desire just wants some looking at.
The most healthy way of looking at desire is questioning: What is it that is in you that wants to know more? If you are attracted to someone with confidence, look at the confidence within yourself. It’s about understanding what you need to work on.
This is how our subconscious looks at desires.
Can you draw a link between self-love and desire?
Self-love and desire…yes!
Desire is curiosity. It wants to know more. About the other person. And how that person sees US. So we actually can experience OURSELVES in a new way – through another person’s eyes. So when we desire another, there’s also a desire to know ourselves more.
Self-love is really opening up to all that you are and being ok with it. Stuff that you find amazing about yourself, owning it, being proud about it. And looking at the parts of you that need more care and attention. Desire is staying curious about all of this and opening up to exploring what is.
Can you recommend any practices for someone looking to find love - internally or externally?
Be easy on yourself. Go gently. Imagine yourself as your perfect partner. Someone who is kind, supportive, who never criticises you. They just point you to your blind spots and help you to move forward in a loving way.
It’s totally normal if you can’t see your blind spots. If you’re having trouble, then give me a shout and I’m here to support you. The first 15 minutes are free.
So there we have it. When it comes to intimacy, sometimes even the experts struggle! But it's a worthwhile and fulfilling journey all the same. At WISP we are all about your sensual wellbeing. Take the time to tune into your senses, figure out what you want and make it happen!
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