Treat Yourself to More Compassion
Valentine’s day is a great time to celebrate love and relationships, we buy gifts and do loving gestures for the people we love. This is a great way to acknowledge the people we care about……….. AND it’s important to always include time to nourish and give back to oneself.
You probably started 2019 with resolutions… so why not add another item to that list and decide to develop a healthier relationship with yourself? You WILL notice a huge shift in your levels of well-being.
Take some time to reflect on the relationship you currently have with yourself and ask:
Many clients get stuck on the self-love piece. They are not ready to love themselves, or they can’t see how they ever will. If you can’t love yourself, can you accept yourself? If you can’t accept yourself, can you (at the very least) respect yourself?
Can You Accept Yourself?
Self acceptance means that, even though there are things about myself that I don’t like, I can accept that they are there, and move forward. I don’t like those things, it’s not cool with me, it’s not OK, only I am simply acknowledging and accepting that that’s the way it is right now.
Can You Respect Yourself?
Self-respect means that, even though I may not accept myself, I am a human being. Self-respect is caring for your body, for example, eating healthy and when hungry, or avoiding risky or dangerous situations that put your body at risk. Self-respect further means that we choose not to grab onto to degrading thoughts about ourselves. By extension, we are respecting ourselves when we do not accept poor treatment by others.
Contributing Factors to Self-Hatred/Self-Denial/Unkindness
It’s not always easy to care for ourselves; we are not perfect. There are psycho-social factors involved in our self-hatred. The pieces and aspects that we do not like about ourselves are usually tucked away or harshly criticized by our negative (inner) self talk. We ruminate on the things that we did, or failed to do, and lose a connection with the current moment, and where we are going, when we do so. These aspects of ourselves, these memories, these patterns seem to walk around with us throughout the day, or come out in full force when something did not go our way.
If you don’t care for yourself, you might feel like you’re not as good as you can be, or maybe not as good as other people. Looking in a mirror, we may be too judgmental about our looks and become tripped up on imperfections (my lips are too small, my bum is too big, my nose looks enormous, etc.).
The list against caring, loving, accepting and respecting ourselves can go on….and on.
Blind to the Good
There are things about ourselves that we simply cannot see, or maybe we do but we ignore or deny. You might overlook the fact that, since you feel badly about that thing you did in high school, it tells us that you have remorse and that you do indeed care. The way you smile, and hold the elevator for people, or how you care about the environment and minimize waste….these aspects of ourselves we can become blind to.
But what if you could treat yourself with more compassion?
How would that change your world? How would you show up in your relationships, at your work, in your life?
Aspects of Myself vs. the Whole of Myself
Find yourself a quiet and stress-free space to reflect, write down a list of things that need to be addressed in order to start loving yourself. Ask yourself, is this about me not liking myself, or not liking aspects of myself?
Certainly, we would expect that there are aspects of yourself that you do not like. That is normal.
Action is Often Required!
Yes, it is time to act. If loving yourself means you have to lose some weight, sign up for that gym, go for walks, or start moving in that direction! It could be the circumstances you have in your life, for example the type of career or relationship. If you are unhappy in a relationship, start the conversation and decide on a healthy path.
Maybe it is your negative thinking that needs to be addressed -if you are being critical about the way you look- you probably find yourself constantly being focused on those, and not WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. Realize how much you are focusing on this and develop healthy habits to let go of these negative thoughts. This is not about denying the imperfection, we are simply deciding not to give it our full attention… and are choosing to move towards embracing acceptance.
Change Can Take Time
This will not happen overnight, and it will most certainly take some inner work, acceptance and self-development. Work with a counsellor/therapist may be helpful in this regard.
Keep fresh flowers-even if it’s just one stem, in a vase in a room of your home…notice how this lightens your mood.
Light a candle! Candles feel romantic and are a simple way to make an activity more “special,” like taking a bath, or having dinner, or to read by.
When your mind reminds you of your inadequacies, say, “thank you, mind,” and move on by focusing on what you truly want (to have a calm, restful night, to enjoy a walk in peace, etc).
Consider drawing up a set of principles to live by (most days), such as, “today, I choose happiness,” or, “Today, I will one compassionate thing for myself,” and work towards LIVING them
Breathe into each and every moment- even the uncomfortable ones. When we are present, we soak up more richness from life and lower levels of stress.
We feel fulfilled when we live our passions- start getting curious about what you are passionate about, and take little steps towards bringing that passion into your life.
MAKE YOUR BED! Notice the difference this makes. Repeat.
Watch Marie Kondo’s show on Netflix, or pick up one of her books- when we have tidy and organized spaces, we feel good.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you!
Janine and Meyvis
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