Posts Tagged ‘self-acceptance’
Happy Self-Love Day!
Valentine’s Day brings up so much baggage. It was created by Hallmark to sell greeting cards. And it leaves single people feeling alone and insufficient, and often causes couples to try to measure up to a mythical standard.
So how about we recontextualize this day… as a time when we learn to have more compassion and acceptance of ourselves? Even… self-love?
It breaks my heart when I hear people say that they can have some more compassion toward themselves, but that loving themselves is almost out of the question.
This is also really important professionally: in my opinion, half of what makes a confident, effective speaker is self-love. And it’s most of what makes a genuinely happy person, too.
A few tips:
Know that there’s no such thing as being perfect.
People will love you more when you give yourself permission to be ALL of you.
When you embrace yourself as an ever-evolving, imperfect human, you give others permission to be themselves, too.
So give yourself a break. Today, my wish is that we each spend time to appreciate ourselves, our foibles, our humanity, and our gifts. May we all be gentle and sweet with ourselves.
OK, you really want inhabit a state of love? Like, all the time? Want to know exactly what to do? Here goes:
- Accept yourself as you are – yet also focus on yourself as the highest possible version of you. And live it.
- Accept others as they are – and relate with the highest version of them, too.
- Forgive your shortcomings quickly – but also strive to make improvements.
- Do small things that bring you joy every day.
- Don’t put off what you need to do.
- Be thankful. Do a gratitude practice daily… more than daily. Thank the Universe for not just all that you have, but all that you haven’t even seen yet.
- With every single thing that happens, let it be your teacher. Look for how it can help you grow. Trust.
- Take yourself just a wee bit less seriously.
Do it… I dare you.
When I first started the thread on anger, I didn’t realize there would be quite so much to say. One important element that hasn’t yet been discussed: what happens when we bottle up anger? Or, when we simply let anger stew in our system unprocessed?
- It suppresses the immune system. Some say it can cause certain kinds of cancer.
- It creates a victim mentality. Other people are to blame, and we can’t take action. (Think about how you feel when driving.)
- If we can’t take action, it’s actually disempowering.
To reiterate - it’s healthy and human to feel angry. It’s caused by trying to get our power back, and can be a positive motivating force. However, it’s essential to process it. Whether through…
- yelling into a pillow or an empty room
- changing your perspective to find acceptance and peace
- redirecting your energy to find your true power
- or simply processing with someone else whatever is needed,
…choose to let it be an empowering force. Don’t let it stagnate your life. Instead, take its guidance and allow it to transform your life for the better.
Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty…
are we there yet?
OK, we know that we don’t have enough freedom due to (among other things) an unrealistic perfectionist mindset, as well as because we’ve embodied societal norms that limit our behaviors. Now let’s do more than talk about this inner freedom thing. Here are a few things you can try.
- Mental strategies. When you encounter a limiting belief or a emotion, do some research on it. Google around, and learn about people (or perhaps cultures) who handling it differently.
- Emotional shifts. Sometimes it’s helpful, when we’re having a hard time, to identify which part of ourselves feels limited. For example, it could be that inner child who’s feeling wounded, or even a rebellious inner teenager. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and see if you get a feel for it. Regardless of whether this is clear, picture sending love and acceptance to that constricted parts of yourself. Appreciate it. And tell it that you’ll give it room to express itself in the world more fully.
- Embodied moves. Beginning with the body can be a powerful way to create transformation. Sit up straight, close your eyes, and take some deep breaths. Usually limitations cause a feeling of constriction in a localized part of the body. As you breathe deeply, visualize sending the breath into that part of the body. Give it extra room for the sensation to expand – even outside of the physical body. Imagine that you can take up as much space as needed in order to feel expansive and free.
More ideas coming later. In the meantime – do you have means that you use?
There’s a strong relationship between freedom and permission. Can we fully express ourselves in the world? Is it okay to do this or that? What will happen if we do? What would people say??
Sounds rather Victorian, doesn’t it?
Well, my American readers will recall that we have Puritan roots. Perhaps our inner critics can be a bit… puritanical. Which is defined as “of, relating to, or characterized by a rigid morality,” or “rigidly austere.” Ouch. A little strict there – not a whole lot of room to move around.
The fear, of course, is that being “permissive” will lead to behavior that is a little too free-wheelin’. That we’d do things that are just a bit too unorthodox… and that we’d be rejected. Society has dictated the norms, and we’re following along. (Ironically, even we rebel, that can be its own norm unto itself.)
So how can we create more freedom? Stay tuned for part 3.
Let’s look a little more at that inner critic. It might be viewed as the internalized Voice of Society. Or perhaps the Stater of Idealized Norms (how we Think everyone is supposed to be like). Or the If-I-Was-A-Good/Healthy/Functioning-Person-I’d-Be-That-Way Declarer. Or the Comparer (“That person is obviously doing much better than you are. Why don’t you do that?”). Or the Arbiter of What is Good and Proper (“and you obviously are not it”).
We hold everything a little too tightly, don’t we? Here’s a way to give yourself more space and permission to be, well, human.
Action: Next time you find that you’re judging yourself…
- Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, and physically relax your body, especially your shoulders, chest and solar plexus (which is where we often store these feelings).
- Imagine that your body expands a few feet out, giving more room for these feelings.
- Let it keep expanding as much as necessary – to the size of the room… the building… the city… and so on, until you really have enough space and permission for all that you are. (Note: if it ever feels too big or spacey, just adjust it to be somewhat smaller again.)
Yes. You can give yourself that much Space and Permission to Be – All That You Are.