Love Yourself as You Are

loveyourself

Because of the snowy weather, my journaling workshop at the library has been cancelled, but this doesn’t mean we can’t journal together!

February is the month of hearts, love, and romance. Not everyone partakes in these festivities, and this month or Valentine’s Day can actually be sad and lonely for some of us.

My theme of Finding Purpose and putting dreams into action has to start with the most important step you will ever take in your life. Loving Yourself. This has been popping up all over the place, so I know I need to write about it.

I love the quote by Steve Maraboli where you have to love yourself enough to take action required for your happiness. How we feel about ourselves affects every decision we make. Take personal health. In restorative yoga this morning, Instructor Jess spoke about accepting your body where it is right now, not how it was yesterday or how it may be tomorrow. And not only accepting it, but being grateful for your body and your beautiful legs that carry you throughout the day.

This was perfect for me, because I woke up feeling very creaky! I’ve been working out, trying to get in better shape, and eat right. In class, I felt tight and was actually mad at myself for not making quicker progress. Then Jess said to breathe through the pose. I not only breathed through the pigeon pose, I also worked through that self-doubt and anti-love. I was working so hard on putting myself down, I forgot about how amazing my body is. How it gave birth to two babies and carried them through childhood. How I biked 100 miles for a charity or earned my karate belts by physically defending myself. Or how I sit for hours and use my fingers to type words from my heart. How my arms hold others in love and comfort. How I am alive, healthy, and able to walk up a flight of stairs.

For your journal prompt, take each part of the above quote and write about it:

*Write about the amazing ways your body supports you and what it has done in your life.

*What action can you take to be happy in any part of your life today? It can be as simple as reading a book, calling a friend, taking the time to journal or play in the snow if you have some, ride the waves if you live near a beach.

*What is holding you back from your past? What story are you holding on to? Can you write the ending where you say goodbye or have closure? Who in your life is filling yours with drama? Is it time to let them loose?

*What are you looking for in a relationship? This could be with a partner, your current spouse, family or friends. You deserve to not only love yourself unconditionally, but to be loved that way as well.

*How do you want to feed your mind? Go back to school? Read a book? Learn a language or draw, sing, etc.

*What physical activity can you partake in to make you feel good? Do you want to join a gym, take kickboxing, dance, yoga, martial arts, biking, meditation, walks. The sky is the limit. Movement means happiness!

*What do you need to forgive yourself for? Can you write yourself a letter? Can you have empathy for yourself like you would have for a friend? Putting that guilt aside, perhaps knowing that you cannot change what happened, but be with it, and give yourself a break is enough for now. Not forgiving yourself is one of the heaviest burdens we can bear.

*What is one step you can take today to loving yourself? This is a long list of questions. Take what moves you today, write, and take action. Then tomorrow go to another or continue on the same one.

You are worth every moment of happiness, self-love, and joy. Believe it for yourself and have a beautiful day.

love-yourself

Step Back Saturday–Forgiveness

I’ve been thinking about the concept of forgiveness on this cloudy Saturday morning. So many thoughts are buzzing through my head, and I’m trying to think about all the references I have ever read about. None of them feel right to me.

So I think about what forgiveness looks or feels like. Who or what have I forgiven? How did it make me feel? What was necessary to forgive? I think first and foremost, I have had to forgive myself for actions that I have either felt bad about or that I had no control over, but still had control over me. Then there are acts that people have done which have hurt.

For me it’s releasing the negative power or hold that this person or act has had on me. It’s accepting that it happened, noting the consequences, and being able to move forward in life without that it blocking or influencing everything I do.

So is that really forgiveness or is it letting go or walking alongside whatever happened? And do we ever really let go of something that has affected us so strongly that we feel anger or sadness about it?

Imagine holding onto anger, bitterness, despair, sadness, wrath, indignation, rage, misery, melancholy, anxiety, guilt, or shame. Do you feel the weight of that negativity? My shoulders hunch over just thinking about it. My stomach ties in knots. My head aches. My world looks dim.

What if I took that emotion and the act that caused it and placed it alongside me, instead of having it plastered in front of my face? What if I acknowledge that yes this happened, yes this person betrayed, hurt, tried to break me or this action happened that almost destroyed me, but I’m not going to let it. I’m going to walk next to it.

Two things will happen.

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One. I will see the world as I did before–from a clearer, happier, fresher perspective. It’s like a dark cloud will have been lifted, and I can see how much love others have for me and that I have for myself. I see what is right here, right now, and I choose to be with what is positive. I have forgiven myself and others.

Two. I start to walk faster, surer, and with a confidence that negativity tried to take away. Soon what I placed beside me slows down for surely it can’t carry all that horrid weight. And I leave it behind. Sometimes it might get a burst of energy and catch up, but if I stay positive it won’t get ahead.

It’s a conscious act to do this. It can involve letting this person know that they no longer have that control over you and how their actions affect you. If that person is no longer here or seeing them isn’t plausible, write them a letter, read it out loud, and let it go.

Write about what you need to forgive, what is blocking you from moving forward, what fills you with the emotions I listed above. Write out the details and decide if any action with that person is needed. If not, let it be, accept that this person may never change, but it doesn’t mean they have that power over you.

Write down how you felt before you removed this block and how you feel after. Refer back to those positive feelings whenever you notice them catching up. Stay in emotional shape by doing what makes you feel wonderful, strong, and happy.

I would love to hear what your idea of forgiveness is and how it has worked for you.

 

Face the Bear

A couple times this week, it was suggested to let the past go or drop what didn’t work for me and move forward. This is especially true with yoga. The first lesson we learn is that if you fall out of a pose, shake it off and get back into it.

This perspective has been a powerful tool for me. It makes life lighter if we can laugh at ourselves or shake off mishaps and mistakes. It keeps us present to what we are doing and what path we are following.

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But sometimes what’s behind us that we haven’t dealt with affects the path we are on. Sometimes we have to turn and face the bear that has been chasing us for a long time. I say bear only because if most of us saw a bear, we would probably run. However, if it’s literally a bear, the worse thing we can do is run. The bear will keep chasing us and possibly cause harm.

It may not be a bear, but your inner demons, grief, tragedy, pain, addiction, the list is endless. If we never face what is causing us to have to restart over and over again, then we can get stuck on our path.

So there needs to be a balance. I know grief will chase me my entire life. Turning around and acknowledging it took a long time for me. Doing that allowed me to move forward. I spent many years stuffing it down, and I still do when that bear gets too close. I tamp it down and run as hard as I can. So now my grief walks alongside me. It’s not something that will ever go away. It’s like a scar on my heart that out of the blue makesĀ itself known. When I falter and have a day where I’m not as chipper as I usually am, or I can’t function, I’m kind to myself and let it be. I give myself permission to be with that grief, then I shake it off and move forward.

Life to me is in the moment, forward and backward. You can’t eliminate the past, but you can choose how you react to it. You can’t completely forget about the bear who is lumbering over you, but you also can’t let it prevent you from living.

Journaling is a way for me to revisit my past without allowing it to overwhelm me. And not everything in the past is bad, let’s be honest! How about turning and remembering the wonderful people and events in your life?! That propels you right past those demons.

Every new day is a chance to start over. Every moment is a chance to forgive ourselves and begin again.

What is chasing you? What stops you from moving forward? What would happen if you turned around and faced it and had a dialogue? How have you begun anew?

You never know, what you thought was chasing you may have only wanted to say hello.