I have to admit, I love using hashtags and slogans like 'Love Yourself' and 'Be kind to yourself'. I use them almost every day in my yoga classes to remind people to listen to what their bodies and minds need the most at any particular moment. And I mean it.
But how often do we actually practice this? How often do we deeply appreciate what it takes to love oneself?
I think this matters because to give what you have to offer to the world it really helps to be at peace with yourself and who you are. Nevertheless, I wonder what it actually means when it is put in practice. How do you know when you can really say you love yourself and are happy with who you are, the person you represent and the values you embody and live truly every day?
While I try to be more 'Zen', my day to day isn't as peaceful as I would like it to be. But that makes me human. So I would like to share things that I see as most helpful at the moment. Things that will help me to embrace myself fully and be comfortable in my own skin.
I think to love yourself is a daily practice of tools and habits. It will look different for different people, and ultimately you are the only one who can define what loving yourself means and how it works for you. This is not an easy task but here are a few things I will be doing in the next few weeks in order to cultivate more self-love on a daily basis.
The following are 5 ideas that may help in making the most with what you have to offer to the world, moment by moment.
1. Give to others
The more you give, the more you have. The more you take, the less you have.
2. Mindfulness In every sense
Often we try to make the external factors 'perfect' thinking this will lead to inner balance, but it actually is the other way round. If we take care of our inner life first, the more likely the externals will fall into place too - or their importance changes. Mindfulness helps to manage one's own feelings and emotions. Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. For a great introduction into Mindfulness, its science and philosophies, I recommend reading Jon Kabat-Zinn's Full Catastrophe Living and Mathieu Ricard's Happiness. Mindfulness can be practiced in so many different ways and wherever you are and can be a great tool at any time of the day and at any time in your life.
3. Don't compare yourself to others. Just don't.
Be grateful - let go - accept yourself, your unique story for what it is. Stop comparing your life to snippets and the 'perfect' scenes on social media. They are not reality. It makes you focus on the negative and something you don't have when there is so much to be grateful for in your life. Your life is different to everyone else's story. That is what makes you YOU.
4. Embrace your past, your weaknesses and strengths - owning them, the good and the bad.
The past happened and it is a part of you, but certain old stories can block us from moving on unless we let go. Every day is an opportunity to see the world around you with fresh eyes. Embrace your perfectly flawed self. Realise that this is what makes the world so beautifully diverse and interesting.
5. Surround yourself with people who lift you up and appreciate you for who you are.
Spend time with people you can be yourself with and with whom you can express how you are feeling without needing to pretend you feel great when you are not.