How is it that am I enjoying and managing to sustain this new exercise regime, and healthy eating, and being generally caring towards myself ?
It doesn’t even feel like a ‘me’ is present making it happen most of the time, it just seems to be occurring effortlessly and I find the activity taking place because it just feels right. At other times I feel the regressive pull back to old ways creep in and I have to push myself a bit to finish the swim or the walk. I do this gently and if I do drop out, I forgive quickly and move on.
This is very different from how I have spent much of my life, it isn’t something I ‘should’ be doing and I’m not, or something I need to try and discipline myself to do. This is what it felt like in the past so I could never sustain such good intentions. It always seemed to require such effort and I wasn’t fully aligned with the intention anyway. Rubbishing myself felt more natural !
There was an conflict of goals taking place that I was unaware of. On the one hand I wanted to be good to myself, and yet I did not feel worthy of the good things in life so I kept undoing any good by making unhealthy choices of behaviour, habits and the company I kept.
An inner turning around had to occur before the new healthy behaviour could feel natural and become integrated into daily life. It had to stop feeling like an ‘effort’ and instead to feel natural. It felt like an effort before because I was moving forward with a foot on the brake.
Why did the idea of self compassion feel so uncomfortable and so scary? I had to answer this honestly and thoroughly.
It required looking at the ways I was sabotaging myself and why I was doing it. I discovered beliefs I was harbouring that stood in the way of being kind to myself. I discovered where many of the beliefs came from too.
Once I had named the beliefs, I found I was largely released from their grip. As I practiced self compassion, it started to feel more natural. When resistance occurred I would identify honestly what it was. It could be a sense of not feeling safe due to the unfamiliarity, it could be a habitual belief that I don’t deserve happiness…I responded with kindness and compassion to whatever arose.
I am still practicing this today. When I feel anxiety, anger or sadness, I turn to my body. Where in my body do I feel this feeling, I ask. I then turn toward the feeling and embrace it warmly like a loving parent. I visualise taking it in my arms and rocking it gently.
This is not habitual yet, I can still spend hours feeling anxious some days before I remember that I have this new tool available. But it is becoming more natural and I am remembering more often with practice.
I now feel that I have joined a new club of those in the world who are comfortable allowing in happiness, joy, comfort, ease, being relaxed, being safe from harm, and being financially secure. I still feel like a newcomer to this club, an imposter even at times when old self doubt arises, but I am getting used to it. Life has never felt so stable and peaceful 🙂