"What the world needs now is Love Sweet Love.... no not just for some, but for EVERYONE!"
Jackie DeShannon sure had it right when she sang those lyrics! That everyone includes YOU! With all thats going on in the news and world today, it is easy to get swept up in feelings of overwhelm, and hopelessness. Many find themselves scratching their heads... how can we make a better world when there seems to be a non-stop parade of devastating events happening all around us? How do we find healing in times of struggle and positive experiences again?
Well, as the saying goes, you can't fill empty glasses if your pitcher is dry. So we need to learn to fill our pitchers first before we can realistically or effectively fill the cups of others. This is where some "self-fullness" comes in. When we, as individuals, are full we are better able to give to others. You know, like the pitcher. When we are full, we have the energy to think more clearly, strategize and motivate to follow through on our intentions with a greater impact than when we run on fumes. So, if you are looking to make a difference in the world, start with YOU!
"But how?" you might ask.
Tap into some SELF- LOVE and go get full of yourself! Yes, you read that right. We often look at being full of one self as a negative thing. As long as we are able to see past our own noses, being full of self is an enormous gift. If we are occupying every ounce of space of our being, we are living expansively! If we run on fumes we are leaving vacancies in our mind, body and spirit for all sorts of unwanted energy, feelings, thoughts and beliefs. So, again, how can we fill ourselves up and the world with love?
1) Begin to listen to your body's unique intuition, and learn to listen to what it is telling you it needs by spend some alone time WITH yourself this coming week. Learning to get comfortable with who we are is one of the must crucial parts of self love!
This means you close your laptop, take off your headphones, and turn off that phone! I know that alone can feel like the end of the world, but it is so worth it and a worthy challenge to accept. Be with you! You are way cooler and more interesting than you can imagine, definitely more so than any pop up add that keeps haunting you on facebook. So, get out of the house, go for a walk. Breathe. Notice what you see around you, what the sound of your breath is like as you move your body. Go out and explore your community! Maybe take yourself to a cafe and embrace the table-for-one experience. Enjoy the aromas of your hot beverage and the sweetness of the comfortable chair you get to sit on. Go and do something you have been itching to do but have yet to recruit anyone to join you. Maybe go to an art show, see a movie no one else wants to see, eat lunch at the funky vegan restaurant all your friends think is strange or go see some live music and smile at strangers.
At first, spending this kind of time with yourself can feel awkward. You might feel the eyes of others on you and believe that they are judging you, and laughing about what a "loser" you are for being on your own. The reality is, the opposite is often true. Most people who see you are actually wishing they had the guts to explore time with themselves and felt the freedom of being full enough of the self to be enough on their own.
2) Write yourself a love letter.
It doesn't matter if it s as long as the "Oydssey" or as short as a single sentence ("I Love You!") on a post it note on your bathroom mirror. Make this really fun and even flirty. Don't be afraid to get really silly or serious here. You can speak passionately and playfully. Compliment yourself on small things or big things. "I really love the way you make coffee with such love for me every morning." You can even write it one sentence at a time over a few days. No matter how you choose to do it, make sure to take a moment to read it aloud to yourself each day. Hearing loving words spoken to us in our own voice is incredibly empowering. It literally charges our energy and helps us begin to open up to what is possible in our lives rather than being pulled down by the limitations of negative thoughts. Whatever you chose to write, write something true and meaningful to you. Write yourself the letter you always wanted to receive. Make it yours!
3) Take a moment to get clear on what it is you are feeding yourself and I am not just referring to Pizza.
A great act of self-love is to take time to ensure we are nourishing ourselves with the highest quality foods and experiences, so we can operate at our highest levels of capability. So, the social interactions, online interactions, TV programs, movies, music, we engage in impact on whether we feel our energy being enhanced or depleted.
Take time to ask, how am I taking things in, processing them and letting of what no longer serves me? How can I discover what I need to let go of?
You can begin by taking notice of what you are consuming and how you are feeling afterward. If something is bringing you down, begin to experiement by taking the reigns and doing the opposite. It can be fun to see what comes up and how it can change the way you feel and then ultimately treat others.
Need some ideas? Lets say your facebook feed is bringing you down and there's that one "friend" who keeps posting about why they hate X, Y or Z. Hide that friends posts from your timeline for a week, and see if that changes things for you. Maybe skip the the nightly news for a few days and see how that changes your mood. There are plenty of ways to stay informed without the gloom and doom plauging the media. Have you noticed that nightly glass of wine giving you terrible headaches the next morning? Switch it up one night and go for an herbal tea in its place. Make it a loving act to yourself. Maybe chose a pretty mug and get cozy on the couch, savoring each sip. Notice if you are feeling more enhanced after these experiments and if you do it may be time to consider making these small changes permanent ones.
4) Create healthy boundaries by getting clear on what your beliefs, passions and interest are and don’t apologize for them!
A huge portion of self-love is in having your own beliefs, interest, and not feeling the need to constantly apologize for or defend them when questioned. As adults, we are still subjected to a certain amount of peer pressure and still fear losing people in our lives if we are honest about who we are and what we want for ourselves. We can find ourselves over-explaining or trying to justify why do what we do... like why we eat meat to our kind-hearted, vegan friends or why we like really cheesy movies to our artsy, brainiac film friends.
So next time someone wants to put you through the third degree for being who you are or having a passion for whatever it is you are passionate about, take a deep breath and remember that you need not explain your life story. Its OK that people have different beliefs and it OK for you to have your own. Lovingly, let the person know you appreciate their investment in your life, however you have made your choice(s) and are pleased with them. It is what it is... next topic please. Having clear and healthy boundaries teaches you and the folks around you to respect your space. And if anything is to grow and florish, it needs space to do so.
5) Cherish the gift of rest and go to bed early!
I know, this one can be a real toughie. Our inner child comes toddling out shouting and the fear of missing out starts kicking us in the shins. Or our inner adult comes stomping out barking orders about a "to-do list" that never got completed. However, the reality remains, we are biological beings and without sleep we cannot function effectively if at all.
Let going to sleep be a treat and create a loving and nourishing experience out of it. Power down all of your electronics an hour before putting your head on the pillow and pamper yourself. Maybe take a bath with your favorite bath salts. Try putting some lavender oil on your pillow case, put on beautiful and comfortable pajamas, read your love letter back to yourself ;o), mediate, journal to declutter the business going on in your head so you can lay your head down to rest with a peaceful mind. I promise you will wake up feeling sooo much more rejuvenated the next morning, almost like you were on vacation for a week! AND when you are well rested you are better able to make clear choices about what you want to do with your day and are more likely to ensure things stay on track to make things happen. Love your self enough to give yourself the advantage you deserve and the rest your body needs. Its screaming for it!
6) Get grateful!
We as humans, are wired to see the negative first-- what isn't working and why. This is a real survival mechanism dating back to the the times when we were foraging in the wilderness for blueberries and never really fully allowed ourselves to fully enjoy their blue beauty or bittersweet flavor because there was always a risk that that pesky sabor-toothed tiger might jump out from behind the bushes and eat us. So we packed away feeling the full range of emotions including complete and ecstatic joy to protect ourselves from experiencing complete and utter sorrow. So the result, negative thoughts dominate in order for us to survive however are we really living? How do we move from feeling down to feeling up? We need to get grateful. It can be as simple as rewiring how we view simple day to day tasks that may feel like a real pain-in-the-butt like hanging laundry to dry. Instead of feeling annoyed at having to stand there wishing we were somewhere else, we can get grateful and really look at how lucky we are to have clothing to cover our backs. Better yet, beautiful, clean clothing to cover said backs! Something easy to overlook in the moment but can be a complete game changer for the rest of the day. I challenge you to start exploring ways to flip the script and get grateful. What is it that you hear yourself complaining about? What is there about that thing that you can be grateful for? Write it down and really lookat that for a moment, see how it changes your perspective and mood almost immediately.
7) Ok. Now your pitcher should be full enough to offer fluid to others empty glasses. Find a way to share this fullness with someone in need.
Self-love is about getting yourself to a loving, beautiful baseline, and then taking what you’ve learned and transferring it to the world at large. It is helping other people by leading by example, and contributing your time and skills to anyone who needs them. So I invite you to take some time to think about how you can be of service to someone else today. Once the "aha" moment comes to you I encourage you to go out and do it asap. It can be as simple as holding the door open in the elevator or offering you cab up to someone else who seems to be in need. It can be as big as starting a charity for hurricane survivors. If you are not sure of what you can do, comment below and we can brainstorm together!