What do you see when you look in the mirror? What comes to mind when you self-reflect? Can you think of a few things you love about yourself? Self-perception is a very tricky thing. Here is my latest run-in with self-perception.
I love all things that motivate, ignite and inspire. I love having deep and meaningful discussions that stimulate and energize our minds. I do my best to be optimistic and make a conscious effort to focus on the good.
With such a strong emphasis on positivity in my life, I was surprised by what I recently discovered about myself. I realized that despite all the love I focus on, I am still much too tough and unkind to myself. This made me wonder how many of you my friends do the same? How many of you work your butts off to please others, to make sure you get this and that checked off your to-do list? How many of you give yourself a hard time because you didn’t accomplish enough, didn’t try harder, didn’t make it as far as you’d hoped? I bet I’m not alone.
This thought laid its heavy head on me during a recent yoga practice. The instructor gave us a focus exercise, she said: “think of one thing you love about yourself.” I was surprised at just how long I pondered on this. It took me much too long to find something I could say I truly loved about me. Criticism, doubt and, cynicism jumped up at the opportunity to stomp on my self-love.
So I ask you my friends, can you think of one thing you love about yourself? Can you be that honest and real with yourself? Without anyone listening, without anyone judging your words can you find one thing you admire about you?
If you, like I, struggled with this, don’t worry, you are not alone. Here is what helped me.
Realizing that I had an issue with this exercise was the first step. Just like any addiction, we need to understand that the problem exists before we start to address it.
Next, I began to seek solutions. One way I was able to change the narrative in my mind was to hear a voice of a loved one. I imagined all the good things they would say about me, to me. I thought hard about what words they would use to inspire, uplift and motivate me. I concentrated on this so deeply that after closing my eyes I was able to see their face, their mouth, their warm and comforting smile. Then I paid attention to what sticks. Which of their statements can I agree with? What do they see in me that I so easily neglect?
This exercise helped me realize that I have some inner work to do. It reminded me that I am a loving and caring person that deserves my own kindness and respect. And last but not least, it reminded me how fortunate I am to have people in my life that uplift, support, and encourage me. I am grateful to have someone to remind me that I am love; that I am light and that I am enough exactly the way I am.
In case you forgot dear one, let me be the voice that reminds you that you are beautiful, you are kind, you are loved and you owe yourself some honest and comforting self-love!
P.S. Shout out to my Yoga instructor for allowing me to go deeper not just with my stretching but for helping me stretch those tightly wound up muscles in my mind.
Sending you love, peace and, good vibrations. Today and always.
With love, Alyana