the inspiration blog

Posts Tagged ‘lovingkindness

Every Saturday morning that I’m in town, I walk over to the farmer’s market near where I live (a cute neighborhood in Oakland, California, right by a lake). I love buying organic fruits and vegetables, in season, straight from the people who grow them – and have gotten to be friends with some of the vendors too.

At the farmer’s market, I’ve made it a regular practice to buy flowers. Sometimes I see a glint in a passerby’s eye, a “knowing look,” wondering what lucky woman is getting them.

But they’re for me. That’s right: every week I buy myself flowers. Sure, if I’m dating someone, she may be getting flowers too. 🙂 But I first buy for myself the color and arrangement that I intuitively feel will nurture me that week. And when I look at them across from my desk over the coming days, I feel kindness toward myself.

It’s a self-love practice.

Self-love is one of the most important things we need to find confidence – in life, and certainly as speakers. 

As you know, we are our own biggest critics. Which means that we’re generally the ones getting in our own way, and stopping ourselves from enjoying life and appreciating our successes. For example, many speakers get angry at themselves when they make a mistake.

Have you ever had a speaking engagement, or something else with high stakes, where it mostly went well… except for that one thing didn’t go quite right? Did you fixate on that one little issue, and blow it out of proportion? Or, did you notice it, take note of what to adjust for next time, and then appreciate all of your hard work as well as everything that went well?

Yes, it’s possible to do that! But it takes practice, and changing our orientation around what happens when things don’t go as planned.

One of the most essential aspects of speaking, and confidence, is our relationship to ourselves. Instead of being self-critical, could you be kind to yourself? Become your best friend, instead of your worst critic?

For some, self-love feels like a tall order. So I often start my clients off with generating compassion instead, using a compassion meditation that begins to change their response to themselves. This is a repatterning of self-destructive thoughts and feelings that, unfortunately, we pretty much all do. Your goal is to be able to be kind to yourself when something doesn’t go right – when speaking, or in life.

There’s much more to the topic of dealing with “making mistakes” (if there really is such a thing), including more fully trusting the flow of life. And we can develop greater capacity for handling whatever arises – because with public speaking (and everything else, for that matter), it will never quite go as we expect! Still, generating lovingkindness toward ourselves is a pretty great place to start.

So, whether you buy yourself flowers, do a metta/compassion/lovingkindness meditation, or another practice, please: be kind to yourself. I guarantee that when you are nicer to the person you spend the most time with – yourself – you’ll not only feel better. Your audience (and everyone else, for that matter) will also sense this, and feel safer with you as a result… and welcome you into their hearts even more.

Will you share your comments and feelings about this below? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Advertisements

Recently my focus has simply been on self-love. Loving myself during my mistakes. Loving myself while I continue on this interesting human journey, with all its aspects. Loving myself, with compassion and care, as much as I do my clients, friends and colleagues.

Why is it so much easier to love others than ourselves? Although, anger and other negative emotions toward others are often a reflection of how we feel toward our own person. Interestingly, we often have the hardest time with those we know the best – spouses, coworkers, great friends… often can be the ones we’re also frustrated with. And, the one we know best of all (and, sometimes, understand the least) is ourselves. We judge ourselves, punish ourselves, and worse, for actions that we might have much more easily forgiven in others. Or, at least, in a small child who obviously would have known no better.

The step toward self-love can begin with witnessing and curiosity. Rather than just judging something you did, view it as if an aspect, or part, of you, was responsible for that. Imagine if the part who did an action you judge, or had a feeling with which you struggle, was a child. Would the most loving treatment be to yell at her or him? Would that help your inner sweet, innocent one feel safe?

Action: Write down a list of how you’d like others to treat you. Then, take an inventory of how you’re actually treating yourself. Begin to notice any gaps. And when you have a strong feeling, notice where you feel it in your body… and imagine as if that is part of you that needs to be heard and wants honoring and expression. Send a message to yourself, like…

“I hear you.”

“I care about you… and about what you’re experiencing.”

“I love you.”

After trying this, please note any experiences below.


Want more?

To receive Jonathan's newsletter, and also get a free gift on speaking with confidence, click here

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 86 other followers

%d bloggers like this: