We live in a world where BUSY is the thing to be. It's as if our self worth is tied to what we are doing and how often we do it. Take a look at social media. Everyday posts consist of letting the cyber world into our private lives. Whether we are having a challenging day at work, going on a vacation, eating dinner, learning or being spiritual, the fact that we are always doing something makes me wonder,
"When do we do nothing?"
"How can we take care of ourselves without making it about doing something?"
It's important to learn to take time and do nothing. Be loving to yourself by sitting down, closing your eyes and focus on your breath. Be loving to yourself by listening to your body, mind, heart and soul. Go for a walk by yourself. Treat yourself to your favorite meal. If you enjoy painting or writing, allow for your stream of consciousness to take over and simply, paint or write.
Loving kindness can be a form of "self-therapy" if you will, because you are attempting, even if it's for a short moment, to ease the pain and confusion that everyday living can bring to you. We all go through it. Work can become hectic and overwhelming. Our relationships can at times be taxing on the self and soul. This does not mean that the relationship has to end. It may mean that we have to look deeply within ourselves and ask, "How can I be loving to myself while in this relationship?"
Our minds have the capacity of sweetening and changing old stagnant and negative patterns. We are capable of being compassionate, loving and soothing toward ourselves, if we change the old messages that we and society have somehow managed to drive into our thoughts.
Begin with you. Learn to identify your gifts. Think of the times when you were able to be loving toward others. What did that look like? Sound like? Feel like? Once you bring awareness of what it looked like, practice telling yourself that you are capable of being caring, nurturing and loving toward yourself.
If you find it difficult to be self-compassionate, it could be that you are stuck in the following thoughts:
1. Being loving and kind towards myself is egotistical.
2. If I don't self criticize, I won't be motivated to do well.
3. I'm a wimp if I can't deal with the tough times in my life.
Attempt to look at your thoughts and patterns of thinking. Were these messages, generational? Or given society and its "norms", are your thoughts and patterns a product of what you think the world expects of you? Whatever the case, know that you have the power to change you.
There are times where you may have to reach out to someone to help free yourself from your negative thoughts. It is O.K. to find a qualified professional who can work with you and help you learn how to help yourself.
I had the most fortunate opportunity to work with a mentor who really helped me learn what loving kindness was all about. I also was able to learn it through my spiritual practice and 'til this day, when I become overwhelmed, or life gets to be too much, I can genuinely honor and love myself as I sit in the present moment, slow myself down and breathe.
"Loving kindness and compassion are the basis for wise and powerful, sometimes gentle and sometimes fierce actions that can really make a difference--in our own lives and those of others."