Can I Love Myself Even Though…

My new favorite mantra is, “can I love myself even though…” I fill in the blank with whatever I’m struggling with or judging myself for at the time. It has been a huge shift in perspective for me. It gives me that perspective which allows me to refocus and consider what the goal of this life truly is. Even though it’s extremely hard for me, my main goal in life is to love myself and others and be a positive force in the world. Love is the greatest gift that we have been given, and there is no greater way to express our gratitude for this miraculous capacity for love than to let that love light shine bright enough to encompass our whole being and those around us. It’s more fun to imagine life as a game than a test. It’s not a game of aggression and struggle against forces trying to destroy us either. It’s a casual game like the ones I enjoy most of all. It’s simply about exploring, being curious, and having fun, seeing what wonderous things we can create along the way.

It’s easy to become distracted by all the negatives we’ve been conditioned, and to a certain extent, designed to focus our attention on. We are constantly trying to find happiness and self-acceptance by changing external circumstances. If only I was skinnier. If only I was smarter. If only I was less anxious. If only, if only, if only. Now when I notice myself getting upset about these rather trivial imperfections, I’ll say to myself, “can I love myself even though I’m imperfect?” Then I listen to that opening feeling in my heart answering back with a resounding, emphatic, “YES!” If my initial reaction is a stubborn “no”, (as it sometimes is) then I’ll ask myself to give it a try anyway. I’ll look at it as a challenge to work with and overcome. It doesn’t have to be so serious. It’s all a part of the game. Looking at it this way keeps me from judging myself for judging myself, which is obviously counterproductive. Instead I become curious and excited to tackle this new challenge.

We are all born full of love and acceptance. I see the truth of this in the faces of the children I work with every day. It’s only as we grow older that we begin to close our hearts to the world and to ourselves out of fear. And when you stop and think about it, this fear or anxiety we feel is an instinctual act of self love. We have these feelings so that we are able to recognize danger and protect ourselves. You aren’t broken. You mind and body are just doing their best to keep you safe. It’s up to us to use our higher consciousness to teach our minds and bodies that it’s okay to relax. The more we practice opening again, the easier it becomes. Sometimes when I’m having a particularly difficult time, I’ll remind myself of that. Even though it seems impossible to practice self love and self care right now, I know that it will only get easier and easier if I keep trying anyway, if I forgive myself for all the hiccups and hard days along the way.

This mantra doesn’t always have to be directed at self-criticism either. For example, sometimes I get overwhelmed with how much I want to do around my house. In that scenario, I’ll ask myself, “can I love myself even though my house is a bit messy or not exactly the way I’d like it to be?” Then rather than ruminating on all I’ve got to do, I’ll instead focus my energy on the fact that I can love myself anyway. It really takes a lot of the pressure off and reminds me of what’s truly important.

As you go through your day today, I encourage you to try this mantra out for yourself. Notice how different our “problems” feel after reaffirming our love for ourselves. When we give ourselves the love we seek, everything else starts to feel a little less important, less scary, less urgent. There is nothing for us to fear, no suffering that can touch us, when we truly practice self love and self compassion each and every day, when we love ourselves even though…

Self Love with ADHD: The Big Heart Approach

Blocking Your Own Energy

Premium Vector | Buddha meditating in the single lotus position. hexagram  representing anahata chakra in yoga on a background.

Yes, I am still going on about energy and chakras. I was thinking as I drove to work this morning about my normal pattern of energy. I wake up, I generally feel pretty good, calm. But from the moment my alarm goes off, I can feel my body recoiling at the smallest things. I have already begun the processes of closing myself off from the world. I’ve begun the process of impeding my own flow of energy.

My mind immediately begins running through all the things I’ve got to do. Let the dog out, feed my pets, make coffee, take my vitamins, brush my teeth. My chest tightens, my breath gets shallow. I don’t want to workout, I don’t want to shower, I don’t want to drive to work. Tighten, close. I resist the idea of all my responsibilities. The day has hardly started and I’m worried about the evening, the next day. Tighten, close. I think about everything that went wrong the day before. I doubt myself. I am filled with fear. I agonize over what has already happened and everything that will or could happen. Tighten, close.

No wonder I am so exhausted by the end of the day! Whether you believe in the idea of chakras or not, all of this resistance, all of this worry and dread and regret and fear, no doubt has an effect on the body and mind. Whether you imagine it as cutting off or blocking an internal source of limitless energy or just using up the finite amount we have to draw from each day, it’s easy to see why there is such a huge difference from the way we feel in the morning to the way we feel by the evening.

The reason this idea of closing off the chakras, namely the heart chakra strikes me so much, is because it helps me understand why I usually feel like a totally different person in the morning and at night. Being tired just didn’t seem to fully satisfy as an explanation. It’s not just that I’m tired. I am also more stressed. I often even feel hopeless, uninspired, like no amount of beauty or passion can reach me, like those things never existed for me at all. When I view this phenomenon from the lens of the chakras, this drastic shift in perspective makes more sense to me.

When I first wake up in the morning, I have just returned from a wonderful period of total rest and relaxation. All the tightness and blockages I’ve stored up from the following day have released in the night. My heart is open. And as a result, for the first few hours of the day, I feel open. I am happy, excited, passionate, inspired. I can feel the energy from my heart space rippling out from my body, driving me onward into my day. But as I move through my routines, I start to block off that energy source little by little. Until nothing is left. My heart is closed. I am tired. I feel desolate inside.

Viewing things this way also helps me because it allows me to have hope. If I had expended all of my daily allotment of energy, what more could I do beside accept that I will always revert to this awful state of mind by the end of each day? Yet if it is simply a matter of unblocking the limitless source of my energy, I actually have a chance, regardless of what transpired earlier or how much stress I experienced. I always have the choice to open myself back up. To breathe and release. To let that energy flow through me once again.

I realize this all sounds like hippy-dippy nonsense to a lot of people. In fact, just a few years ago I would have been one of the people scoffing and rolling their eyes. But even at my most cynical and skeptical, I understood that there is a huge power in just truly believing something. We’ve all heard about the placebo effect. So even if none of this is true, it’s all about what works for you and what you find to believe in. I don’t really care if this can or can’t be proven for once in my life. I can visualize my heart opening. I can use this imagery to release tension in my chest, in my neck, my shoulders. I feel better. I can breathe more deeply. I am discovering ways in which I am able to live with more ease. And that’s all that really matters. I hope that sharing this new perspective is able to help at least a few other people live with ease too.