And how to integrate it into my life, and how I do it.
Firstly I take note that there is a lingering resistance that runs through my whole journey of learning to be my own friend, to be kinder and more loving towards myself.
I take this as part of the naturally occurring weather systems that blow in and out of our lives. And it makes sense that changing a habit of a lifetime and one that originates in early conditioning is going to present with a little resistance. And fear. After all, our defence mechanisms have arisen as an adaptation to circumstances, often in ways that we think will protect us.
So being tough on ourselves might be a way of making sure we ‘try harder’, and don’t slack. It might be a manifestation of a belief that we don’t deserve to be kind and nice to ourselves, a believe rooted behaves in a belief in our unlovability.
We can pay respect to these resistances, thank them even, and carry on regardless in a way and at a pace that takes us slightly outside our comfort zone, but still keeping ourselves safe.
Here’s one I did this morning that wasn’t too challenging and felt rewarding, strengthening my new belief that it’s okay to be kind and loving towards myself.
I took a shower. In the shower, instead of going off in my automatic thoughts about the day ahead, I remained present. When my mind wondered off, I took my attention back to what I could sense right in this moment.
The water temperature on my skin, the sound of the water trickling, the smell of the shampoo and conditioner, the sight of the water disappearing down the hole.
I washed my body in a spirit of care and thanks for each part. The you feet for carrying me around, thanks to my legs which support me, and so on.
For many people opening up to self love is a journey through pain. Pain of the years of neglecting and being harsh on ourselves or the pain of the treatment we had as children or how we have allowed others to be unkind, cruel or unloving when we didn’t feel we deserved better treatment. We have to take responsibility for how we have allowed others to treat us, even if we did this unconsciously resting on beliefs that were put upon us as children.
Resistance to this pain is totally understandable, so we can go slow, at a pace that is gentle and we can keep ourselves feeling safe. The shower exercise is a good one for a gentle introduction. Just getting used to being nice to ourselves little by little, and then when we have integrated that, we can take some further steps.