Here is my second mantra and core of my teaching. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.
Love Yourself Better:
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Buddha
In my experience, learning to love ourselves better and better is a life-long journey. I have made huge strides in this since I was a teenager filled with self-directed anger, but I still continue to uncover ways I am mean to myself, things that I think or do towards myself that I would never say or do to a beloved friend.
When I say self-love, I am not talking about self-indulgence. I am talking about being your own best friend, ally, soul mate, and a loving, kind, clear parent to yourself all at once. The parent part is very important, because everyone of us has a child self living inside us, no matter what age we are (actually, several of them at different ages), and that child needs good parenting in order to thrive—lots of love and encouragement, oodles of acceptance and curiosity towards what that child wants, needs and loves, time for play and adventures, good guidance and clear boundaries.
Learning to be kind to ourselves in all ways—taking care of our bodies, our minds, our hearts and our spirits, being patient, caring, compassionate towards ourselves—is, in my experience, the foundation for accomplishing anything worthwhile in life, having healthy relationships of all kinds with other human beings, and being able to enjoy life. The better you get at this key, the better your life and the lives of all those around you will be.
Start by noticing when you aren’t kind, when you say or do something you wouldn’t say or do to a close friend, when you fail to acknowledge, appreciate and encourage yourself, when you don’t take care of your body, mind, heart and spirit. When you notice this, just bring your loving awareness to it; don’t beat yourself up about it, that doesn’t help. Simply bring your compassionate awareness to it and make a different choice, a more loving, kind choice.
Change the way you speak internally to yourself, the way you motivate yourself to do things (Is it punitive and harsh, or encouraging and kind?). Take care of yourself the way you would take care of a beloved child, giving yourself the encouragement, support and structures you need to thrive. Just take it one step at a time and watch your life blossom.
Stay tuned for Mantra #3 in my next issue.