I have recently been running into people with the pattern of beating up on themselves when they make mistakes or the situations around them are not in their control. These are compassionate, loving people who give to others from their hearts and yet when things don’t quite go as they think they should, they get down on themselves, hate themselves and blame themselves. This is anger turned within and often leads to depression.
I’m familiar with this pattern as for years I dealt with my demons and almost always came to the conclusion that I wasn’t good enough and somehow it was my fault – I should have done something more to change things. In recent years I have discovered ways that have helped me to break this pattern and I find now that for the most part I never go back into that mindset. Instead, I have grown to love myself and see the bright, loving soul that I am. It has been nothing short of being an almost complete freeing of my authentic self. (There is always more to allow to come through, eh?)
At this time of Valentine’s weekend when the focus is on romantic love, I have long ago realized that romantic or any kind of relationships start first with loving ourselves warts and all. There remains the belief by many that if we love ourselves we are selfish, egotistical and can not be there for others. I have found quite the opposite to be true. In fact when we truly love ourselves we make choices that nourish us and actually give us more energy to be present for others.
What does it mean to nourish ourselves? Is it as simple as having foods we love, relaxing with the TV or a movie. While these things can be nourishing, if we do only these things, we will feel depleted instead of nourished. Here are some thoughts for nourishing ourselves:
Meditation, contemplation or prayer Eating healthy choices mindfully Laughing – seeing the humor in life is precious Sharing time with friends or family whom we love Spending time with our pets Being in nature Keeping a gratitude journal Connecting with our heart center Having fun that truly fills you with joy Writing Listening to music and or dancing to the music within and….?
Another important element of loving yourself is to relinquish control – as much as we’d like to believe it to be true, the world does not revolve around us. We don’t control the choices of others and we are allowed to feel our emotions and then release them so they don’t control us.
May this Valentine’s Day and beyond give your heart to yourself, appreciate who you are and love it! You’ll find your reservoir of love for others being quite full.