Welcome to #31daysofselfcare2018
Ohhh, self-love does not come easily!
Even when we are raised with love and surrounded by those who love us, we get so many other messages that give us reason to doubt. It takes practice to be at peace with the idea. I am from a generation when self-love was seen as self-serving and selfish – not something to be considered worthy of attainment. So how do we undo that lesson and the effect it has had on subsequent generations.
We are bombarded by messages from all directions that give us a reason not to love ourselves. Sometimes those messages are inadvertent. I know I’ve said things that I didn’t mean or at least I didn’t mean them the way they heard. We hear what we already believe.
The radio, media venues, teachers, bosses, family members voice that we are too thin. No, wait! We are fat! Well, if we were just taller. Or gosh darn it. How dare we go out on a date with a pimple on our nose. First of all, let me just say ALL of those messages are coming from another person’s perspective and judgment.
We take those messages. We internalize them. And then we wear them season after season.
So today I want you to do something I’ve learned to do and wish someone had told me earlier. Sit quietly with yourself and quiet your mind. Breathe in slowly. Exhale slowly. Do this at least three times, or until you feel your body relax and you feel the change. I like to say “feel the change in cabin pressure.” That’s something most of us can relate to. As you do the following exercise, if you find your mind stepping in over your heart, return to a slow inhale and exhale and resume.
Ready?! Here’s the exercise.
When someone says something beautiful about you, what do you want to hear?
Why is this exercise important? Because it’s easy to believe negative things about ourselves. I want us to learn this exercise so well that we automatically go to it when negative thoughts creep in. Rather than as soon as trouble comes calling, we go to that place that thinks (that’s the mind speaking, not the heart) “we’re not good enough”; “of course, we failed. We fail at everything”, “the pants don’t fit because I’m fat,” “everyone laughed at me because I’m stupid” – and the list goes on.
Or the day comes that we’ve completed a project or life role (such as caregiving) and we find fault with everything we did and how we did it. Instead say, “Okay, I did my best. I’m doing my best”.
I’ve dedicated years to re-learn loving myself. It’s been totally worth the work. Don’t give up! You’ve got this!