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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?

  1. It suppresses the immune system. Some say it can cause certain kinds of cancer.
  2. It creates a victim mentality. Other people are to blame, and we can’t take action. (Think about how you feel when driving.)
  3. 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…

…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.

So now we have a fuller understanding of the difficulties and obstacles to speaking the truth, or telling to ourselves. So – solutions!

Actions:

  1. Speak from your perspective, and acknowledge that it’s not The Ultimate Truth. By saying, “I feel” or “From my perspective…” it allows others to hear you better.
  2. Disconnect your truth from judgment. Remember – your “truth” is likely not a fact. By stating it cleanly and simply, it creates room for someone else to hear more.
  3. When talking to others, say what feels like the essence. There’s a difference between saying what needs to be said, and processing/thinking out loud.
  4. If you feel yourself not wanting to admit something – to someone or even to yourself – that’s a sign that you’re not in touch with the deeper meaning of things. Try writing out several possibilities of what it could mean – and look for what gives you the biggest feeling of relief.
  5. No matter what… be kind. To yourself, and to whomever else you speak.

When you have said the real deal, you’ll attract to your life what you want – and ready the way for it to come.

When we try to speak the truth, several things may happen, including:

  1. The truth can out too strongly if we feel we won’t otherwise be heard.
  2. We may not really communicate the full power of what we mean, so the other person doesn’t get it (or take our own feelings seriously enough).
  3. If we hold back and try to spare someone else’s feelings, we end up hurting them more in the end.
  4. We may have a fear of being judged. Or not heard. Or disregarded.
  5. We may worry about saying too much, or not know what is appropriate under the circumstances (and don’t want to have verbal diarrhea).
  6. And, when we try to tell ourselves the truth, we may judge ourselves or think it’s not okay to be so up front.

Part 4: Solutions.

What’s even a more troublesome situation than lying to others is when we lie to ourselves. Perhaps we try to convince ourselves that a situation is alright, when in fact it really isn’t. Whether this is a relationship, a work situation, or an aspect of your own life that you’d like to change, it’s common to simply shove these thoughts and discomfort aside. Because we’re afraid to rock the boat. Because we fear that it might take too much work to really create transformation. Because we’re afraid that We Aren’t Good Enough.

Of course, the idea that you’re not enough is the greatest self-deception. Because you’re acquiescing your own power, and choosing to not take action.

It begins, though, with simply admitting what is true – and speaking it. Yes, out loud.

Part 3: Common stumbling blocks.

Whether it’s a social event, mixer, a business meeting or a date, one thing often stands in the way: fear of connection. Now, of course we want to connect. But along with that comes fear of rejection. Fear of being judged. And a very awake inner critic that is perfectly happy to spend the entire time (and hours later) to tell us over and over how imperfect we are and can’t do anything right.

When I coach my clients and teach workshops, I emphasize a few things to help with this.

  1. Everyone wants you to be great. Truly. Even pessimistic people want to be inspired – they just need to have their faith reawakened.
  2. You don’t have to be perfect! Really. Perfection isn’t real, and those models in the magazine are airbrushed. They have warts too – it’s called being human.
  3. Not everyone needs to love you. Look for where there is connection and a spark of interest (on whatever level). Pursue it. And if it’s not there, just Move On to that next person who’s waiting – just for you.

Action: Today, try to connect more deeply with those around you.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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”).

Phew.

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…

  1. 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).
  2. Imagine that your body expands a few feet out, giving more room for these feelings.
  3. 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.



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