Romancing with one-self

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance”  Oscar Wilde

The shops are full of valentine messages and a postcard has hit the mat informing me that I could demonstrate my love by sending flowers.  As February rolls round and the message I keep hearing is “love” I am reminded that if I have no love or appreciation for myself, then how can I possibly love anyone else in my life right now?  I’m talking about a love that offers kindness to our selves whatever situations are playing out in our lives.

Self-talk

As you walk around today, listen to your inner self-talk.  Often the harshest critic is the one sitting in our minds.  I call my inner critic ‘Sydney’, and she is very good at telling me “You are not good enough”, “You should have completed more” or, “You ought to have tried harder”.

When Sydney goes off on an inner rant I often thank her for sharing and then I explore how I might be feeling in the moment I started criticising myself.  Am I feeling frightened, overwhelmed or even scared?  Listening to our inner critic can tell us much about how we are feeling.    Often the answer is quite surprising and gives us a clue as to why we’ve been criticising or judging ourselves so harshly.

Self-discovery

When you begin to uncover the feelings associated with the internal rant, some compassion and acceptance often appears and this can enable you to speak some inner words of kindness to the part that is hurting.    Often asking yourself how you would speak to a friend who was feeling scared or overwhelmed, helps us to connect compassionately with ourselves.   Ironically we often have better relationships with our friends than we do with ourselves.  As Louise Hay says “You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

Self-love

When I’m being kinder to myself I feel compassion, warmth and a connection with the world and this helps my heart to open and for me to love others.  Why not give it a try?

Fresh start

January seems to be a time to focus on losing weight and physical fitness.  What about emotional well-being too?. Here are some tips for emotional health that can complement our physical well-being this month.

  1.  CONNECT – See if you can reach out to a friend for a chat or play a game with your family. Relational contact with others can create a feeling of warmth and a sense of belonging. During a chilly month like January it’s pleasant to feel emotionally warm even if it’s cold outside.
  2. KEEP LEARNING – have you yearned to learn holiday French, or to knit or play a musical instrument? Perhaps these things are not to your taste and it might be something else that you yearn to do. Listen to the whispers of your heart as learning something new takes up concentration, reduces thoughts about worries and can help you to relax.
  3. GIVE TO OTHERS – Perhaps you can say a kind word to a friend or a thank you for a job well done. Or perhaps de-clutter a cupboard and give to charity. This can give you a sense of contentment at having perhaps made a difference to someone’s life by your words or deeds.
  4. TAKE NOTICE – Pick a time of day perhaps when brushing your teeth or taking a shower and utilise that time to stay present rather than letting your thoughts wander off into past and future. Stay present! You will be surprised what thoughts you will become aware of that you didn’t know you were thinking. Are these thoughts serving you?