Welcome to second week of the self love challenge; I hope that you had a chance to sprinkle some self love througout the weekend. Last week, I introduced the ideal that fully “being” our true essence is the key to experiencing happiness with ourselves. I explored various factors that empower us in embodying our true essence amidst changing conditions. Today, I want to introduce a very non intuitive concept that impacts our ability to internalize our essence and love ourselves, which is how we treat others. As we fill our cup with love, what overflows onto others is a direct reflection of what us inside of us.
I did not fully understand the phrase “what you give is what you get” until I prioritized self love as the overarching principle in my life. I had tried “treating myself” positively in the past with minimal success until I began to appreciate the impact of my interactions with others on how I felt about myself. For example, I’ve shared that I use to wrestle with being self critical and struggled with breaking the habit no matter how many mantras and affirmations I recited. Until, I recognized that I wasn’t just critical to myself but I was just critical, of my son and everyone else who didn’t do things as I deemed perfect. That’s when the light bulb went on that adopting a more compassionate outlook with others for their blunders was essential to not wronging myself when I did the same. The mistakes I chastised in others subconsciously created the perfectionist standards that I held myself to and would subsequently fear falling below the bar. If others weren’t allowed to have a moment of poor judgement then you better believe that neither was I. Of course that didn’t stop me from still being human so I’d just punish myself for my oversights. The kinder that I have become with myself during imperfect moments then the more I recognize that we are all imperfect and can freely extend greater understanding to others.
When it is hard to respond with kindness in certain situations, I see it as indicative that my cup is simply low on kindness and do not interpret it as whether the circumstance deserves my kindness. Essentially, I am inviting you to even just try implementing this concept of self love, giving more kindness and compassion because doing so expands the type of situations where you will feel deserving of your own love and understanding. If someone is rude to you, then challenge yourself not to reciprocate the same behavior because being human, you will surely offend someone you value (even unintentionally) one day and the ease in which you will forgive yourself for that error will depend on how “wrong” you made someone for the same behavior. Perhaps the most beautiful thing that will come from being more kind to others is the ability to receive kindness under a broader range of circumstances. Every imperfect instance in which I have chosen kindness has become a situation that I am willing to receive the kindness of others as well. It’s a long ways from previously wearing the “I am strong” crown, whereby as much as I sought admiration and approval, I was reluctant ‘receive love’ me in situations that heightened my insecurity. There you have it, the more you give yourself love, the more it will overflow onto others and the more you give love to others, the more love you are able to receive.
1.) A.) What compliment do you find the most difficult for you to accept and why?
B.) Write a note to yourself giving yourself this compliment and include reasons and examples in yourself and life to explain why it true. Please read this letter every morning for the remainder of the self love challenge.
–Beginning your day by affirming the positive beliefs in this letter implicitly sets the intention to validate it with action. Your repeated action will reinforce these beliefs, making it easier to receive this compliment as a true reflection of your authentic essence. Also as you go about your day be self aware of allowing yourself to receive love when it feels uncomfortable. Say thank you for compliments without diminishing them. Accept others’ pardon or graciousness when you make mistakes without insisting on your unreasonableness. More impotently be mindful to also give love under these conditions to support your willingness to receive it.
2.) Recall a situation or a person that you are currently feeling challenged with choosing patience, compassion, kindness. Consider is there is an aspect of your life where you are treating yourself in the same manner as you treat them?
B.) list 3 things that you do appreciate in this person? Is there similarities in what you appreciate about yourself as well?
–I invite you to consider the role that this situation or person may be offering you to expand your self love. How we love others reflects the overflow from our cup, therefore how we are challenged in authentically loving others truly reflects what is diminished in our own cup.
I once thought that I was protecting myself by resisting kindness in situations that I felt were undeserving of it. I didn’t realize that kindness is free and the less I chose to show freely, the less kindness I felt within myself. Consequently, I would feel compelled to “do” something in other situations for others to validate my kindness, which typically cost my self love. Giving love freely through the energy that we choose to interact with others teaches us that we are not responsible for how others feel and this liberation is a cornerstone of self love.