Just writing that feels weird, does it sound weird? With so many things going on in the world, that seem to come from a place of hate and fear, what is the point of loving ourselves. So many of us learnt not to; as if loving ourselves was a selfish act; even hedonistic. Activists among us probably immediately think, whats the point in that how are we going to change anything. Cynics amongst us probably think, it is just a cop out and part of the mindfulness buzz of acceptance and therefor, the sceptic in us thinks, it is avoidance. Our sensitivity probably thinks it’s a Western luxury and how is acceptance and being mindful and loving ourselves going to be any use for a Syrian refugee? Round in circles we go unable to settle, unable to accept and still unable to be active or change any of this mess in the world; and then comes the depression from frustration and we are stuck.
That;s good, stay there. Listen to those thoughts, they are all true, all yours and there is nothing wrong with them. But what harm would it do to welcome them in, to love yourself as you are, with your thoughts and with all the questions and all the failure. Failure is only measured against others success or an idea of success we have put on ourselves.
Failure and questions are what make us human, not the answers. We are seeing too much of people in power having all the answers and the simplicity of the answers are frightening and gives people more power as if they hold the key to your happiness.
Listen to yourself, stop judging, stop comparing, stop seeking happiness or cure alls or new trends that promise so much, they may not work for you. Look at everything you do, feel, think with love not violence. ” I must be better, I must stop this, I must improve, I must do a Pilates class” are all violent and come from a place of frustration and hate, not love.
Love starts with acceptance, it is not passive, it is active. Actively being kind to yourself, actively changing your words and nurturing yourself. No one can tell you how to do that, but listening is the start, holding and listening; the very qualities we would like from those who love us.
If we can hold and listen to ourselves without judgement, then we are loving and we are hearing ourselves for who we really are. We can then hold an listen to others with this love; not seeking them to change or trying to give them solutions which only they can find; through loving themselves.
Creative writing exercise:
ten minutes with pen or pencil and paper – clean fresh notebook would be great
Set a clock and write non stop for ten minutes with the heading: ” I love myself”
Don’t stop writing, don’t question, don’t judge, don’t worry if you think you have gone off theme, don’t worry about spelling or grammar or whether your writing is legible.
Leave it, don’t read it until at least a week has past.
Mindful Pilates exercise
Sitting up in any comfortable position that feel right and accessible for you: cross legged on the floor, on your knees on the floor or on a chair is fine just sit forward and lift your back out of your hips. Arms can be wherever you would like them to be. Breathe in to your stomach through your nose, letting you belly fill up. Breathe out through an open gently smiling mouth drop your chin down to your heart centre. Does not matte how far, work within your boundaries. Internally say,”I love you” to your heart centre and keep smiling. repeat ten times. Lift your head gently back up on each each in breath.
Repeat with neck to each side: five times on right, five times on left – breath in through nose with head up, breathing into navel, breath out, draw navel to spine, gently smile with lips slightly open as you place ear in the direction of your shoulder, eyes softly looking down, jaw relaxed and your chin slightly turned towards heart centre. Repeat “I love you” on each out breath, either internally or voice the words. If it feels silly which it may, accept that and smile more. Repeat on other side.
Repeat writing exercise above for five minutes.