Self-Love: A Resource For Overwhelming Times
Why Cultivate A Relationship With Ourself?
As I sip my morning coffee, I find myself thinking about how important our relationship with ourself really is. We can find solace in ourselves during challenging times. We can find safety, security and care. In thinking about all of this, this poem came through and id like to share it with you:
“You are the first person I wake up to in the morning and the last person I confide in at night. You are there in my dreams, in the rising and falling of every breath and every thought. You never leave, even when the going is tough. You observe both my shadow and my light. There is no hiding from you. Ever.”
Sometimes we may find ourselves disenchanted by the chaos and injustices that we see in the news, on our social media feeds or even just making our way to and from the grocery store. In addition, the stress in our relationships, at work, and major life changes and events can pile on top, leading to a metaphorical traffic jam of overwhelm. In moments when the world feels like a difficult place to be in, it is natural to experience a range of emotions including fear, anger and shame. If we have a practice of self-reflection, we may even note how our unsavory emotions and thoughts form patterns that seem to follow us throughout the course of our lives. And no matter how hard we work to manage these patterns, it may still feel like we are only in control of a small portion of our lives.
Fortunately, there is a place within where we can cultivate the experience of peace, connection and safety that we may find ourselves longing for. And why not? After all, there is no other relationship more pervasive than the relationship we have with ourselves. We can choose whether this relationship is a long-suffering one, or a place of sanctuary when the chaos of life presses in. In each moment, we have a choice to bring kindness to the self and reap the benefits of an inner habitat of inclusion and peace.
Self-Love: A Practise
Try beginning with a simple practice of tuning in to an emotion by locating it in a body sensation. Minding the judgments and agenda of your thoughts, take care to notice the quality of the sensation. Its weight, temperature and movement. You may even attempt to envision what it looks like. Then, take a hand and lovingly place it on the area of your body where you have identified the sensation. Breathe into it, being aware of your caring presence with the difficult emotion. Though it may feel strange at first, you may even try talking to it sweetly, offering kindness through words like, “I am here with you” or “I’m sorry you are hurting” or even “I love you”. This need only take a few moments and if you need more concrete guidance, try starting with Kristen Neff’s five-minute General Self Compassion Break found here:
Before you right off a self-love practice as fluff, consider how uncomfortable it feels when you try it. You might even want to get curious about why there is resistance and what would happen if you moved through it. After all, most worthwhile endeavors require great effort. The effort of self-love is not minimal, but the rewards can be infinite.
– Karli Brodeur