April 28, 2011

Show Yourself Some Love

photo credit: Marina Pics

Please, if you do nothing else as you are shifting, show yourself some love.

Shifting is not for the faint of heart.  It’s simple, but it’s not easy.  Whether it’s Ali Brown of Secret Millionaire going from star to stark (and as she admitted on a private call, from Jag to Prius), or your empty-nester mom starting a new job after staying at home to raise you, or you finally facing your relationship demons, it’s a roller coaster ride for us all.

What you’re about to read may sound rudimentary, but it’s amazing how quickly we neglect our basic physical, human needs for things that aren’t worth it.  I assure you, now is not the time to do so.  Thus, a gentle reminder feels appropriate.  (Lord knows, I’m still struggling with the second point below almost daily!)

How to Show Yourself Some Love

I can philosophize on what showing yourself some love means but I’d rather tell you in concrete, actionable steps you can take beginning right now.  So here goes:

  • If you’re tired, sleep a little more.  It’s okay.  Your body needs it.
  • When you’re hungry, eat.  Enjoy your food.  Eat healthy. The world will not end, your baby will not starve, and your job will not evaporate because you took time to decently feed yourself.
  • Nourish not only your body but also your soul by doing more of what you love, even if you can only do it 10 minutes at a time.  Don’t put this off until tomorrow or the weekend – give a passion a little attention each day.
  • Stop the negative self-talk – it’s not the truth. The next time you hear your inner critic, stand back and detach.  Watch and listen.  If you’re prone to journaling, you might try dialoging in writing with that inner voice.  It’s surprising to find your inner critic, like a small child, often just wants a little attention and is simply an emotional protector in disguise.
  • Forget what others think; care what you think.  It’s so easy to get caught up in our reflections, for we’re all mirrors to each other.  But remember, you’re not meant to step through the looking glass.  You can never really know what someone else thinks anyway, and you have no control over the thoughts of others, either.  You do, however, have control over your own thoughts.  So take it.
  • Forgive yourself.  Every day, all day, for as long as you need.
  • Forgive everyone else, every day, all day, for as long as you need.
  • Adjust your standards so you are delighted with rather than disappointed in yourself.  As author Jennifer Louden teaches, the goal is to be satisfied rather than superhero.  Define daily conditions of satisfaction you can meet, and agree to be happy when you meet them.
  • Cut the cord on gossip, criticism, and judgment – of self and others.  They do nothing to serve you.  Try going a whole day – I can barely do it now, but it’s fun to try.  See where you slip up.

One Final Point Deserving Mention

Part of shifting is dealing with endings. Yes, it gets personal.  Some endings are literal deaths, some (like divorces, job loss, broken friendships, failed businesses, etc.) are figurative ones but hurt just as much.  All the more reason for extra self-love.

It helps to remember, though, that all endings bring the opportunity for completion and resolution, which then create the space needed by new beginnings.

Keep shifting and please keep showing yourself oodles of love in the process.  We’re all in this together.  I keep going because I stubbornly believe there is more joy than struggle to be moved into right now.  Let me rephrase that – I don’t have to stubbornly believe anymore – with each additional step, I know.  And so will you.

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Karen Talavera  |  Contribution: 2,900