We humans, or at least the majority, have a habit of repeating the negative self talk we received in our past. Not always received in words but also in actions or lack of attention/love. Of course, we may know a few who always seem as if they are self-assured, self-confident, adore and love themselves. Whether that’s true or not, we perceive them to have it all together and perhaps that’s what they intentionally give off.
I have a lifelong practice of habitually sabotaging myself. Always beating myself up and tearing myself down for every little thing. The way I look, not liking this about me, not liking that. Not liking this aspect of my life, being self-critical of my talents or lack thereof. Even if I receive positive reinforcement in the way of compliments and building up from others, it doesn’t go unappreciated, but it seems I reflect and focus on the negative about me. Why is it always easier to believe the bad stuff about ourselves? I’m sick and tired of this limiting behavior.
I think it’s high time we learn how to reclaim our lives and in ways that is right for each of us. And I believe I have found the first few inches of this pathway into enlightenment or self-love or whatever you want to call it. Are you ready for it?
I am practicing being gentle with myself.
“What does this mean exactly?” you may ask.
For me, this meant taking a mental health day, which means a day for me, a vacation day, a day off from pretty much everything except for the fact of dealing with me. And I didn’t even really “deal” with me, but I did take time for me and with me and nurtured me and romanticized me and listened to me and talked to me. Yes, I talk to myself. Am I crazy? Well, the jury’s still out on that one, but I encourage you to talk to yourself, too. Positively.
And you don’t have to be super weird and make out with yourself in the mirror like James Franco or anything but telling yourself “I love you” is a good thing. Hugging yourself is a good thing.
This is what I did on my mental health day (if you need an example for yourself):
I cannot recall if I slept in on this particular day but I didn’t get up early. I know this. I did wake up with a smile (prob around 6/7/8), because I went to bed the night before whispering to myself to just practice happiness and be grateful for all I have in my life. Just mostly be grateful and happy for my blessings.
1. So, wake up with a smile and intention that today is going to be a free and gentle day and whatever happens, I am okay, and everything is going to be okay.
I downloaded an app on my phone months earlier, because I wanted to try something, and I read about it, but I’ve never been able to fully embrace it, because…well, partly, I felt it a bit new age-y and partly, because I cannot seem to still my mind long enough to fully appreciate the benefits that this action brings. Some may call it ‘lack of action’ but without further ado, I’m talking about – meditation. On my day, I did it. And I LOVED IT!
2. Besides enjoying my coffee and biscotti, I laid on the couch, listening to the guided meditation and experienced a more relaxed head-space and presence of self that I hadn’t before. (Comment me for the free app and free meditation.)
I lit fragrant candles, fixed myself a long hot bath and poured in some yummy smelling bath beads I forgot I had. I turned my phone music app on to Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Etta James and the like, because that’s how I roll…or that was my mood at the time. I shaved my hairy legs. I soaked. I got carried away, not by Calgon (some of you may get this reference), but by fragrance, out of this world magical musical tones and closed eyes, allowing my mind to transport me to wherever the wings of my imagination wanted to fly. And I just breathed. And relaxed. And didn’t live by a clock or schedule, for once.
3. Soaked in a hot bath, full of fragrant bath salts, flickering candle close by, listened to mood music, daydreamed happy thoughts, listened, breathed, smelled, relaxed.
I took a walk outside. We live in the country so it’s peaceful most of the time, unless someone is out in their yard with a chainsaw or have a tree-cutting company hacking 3 or 4 trees for 2 or 3 days, which happened recently. It was peaceful on my mental health day, though, thankfully.
4. Walked in the grass, feeling grateful for grass. Sat in my new lazy tree swing with my feet up, staring up into the tree bark and leaves that were lovingly shading me, feeling grateful for beautiful strong trees, grateful for a family that I love, feeling grateful for me and focusing on the good stuff that I have done (and do) in my life. My intention was strictly positive, so nothing negative came to mind during this time – actually the whole day!
I had made a video, just because I’d never done this before, of myself. Call me insane, but I felt the need to tape myself a day or two before my mental health day, right in the middle of my funk. I wanted to address it. I wanted to say it out loud. I wanted myself to see it and hear it from my other self (if you get what I’m saying here – no, I do not have multiple personalities). I wanted to be real and authentic. Then, I watched it and listened to it as if it belonged to someone else and thought about how I’d feel for this person had it been a friend or stranger. I watched again. And really listened. And then I deleted it, because it took up too much memory on my phone and because I wanted it to remain private. On my special day, I wrote a letter. (If you’d like tips on what I covered in this video, so you can do one of your own for self-therapy, comment me.)
5. I wrote this friend (because we all need to be friends with ourselves) a love letter, telling her how wonderful she is, how brave, how courageous, how proud I am of her for her accomplishments, how much she has to give, how much talent, how much love. I told her she’s beautiful, inside and out and how she can do anything and I am here for her and she has others that are here for her and to trust herself and go after what she wants but to also be happy in the journey, as each step on our paths are meant to teach us something about ourselves and our lives. And to be mindful of each moment and to forgive – others, as well as herself.
I read a lot of different things – parts of different books that inspire me, different articles that I was in the mood to hear on this day, things I wanted to know more about, things on meditation, things on forgiveness, things on how laughing is healthy. I watched funny videos. I watched inspiring videos. I watched happy videos with the AWWW! factor – with babies and fur-babies. I put on funky music (play that funky music white boy!!!) that made me want to dance and I moved my bootie to the music. You have to pick tunes that inspire you to get up and dance a happy dance – one where you have no choice but to groove to the music, ya know?
And hey, it doesn’t have to be a pretty dance. If ya look like a big ole weirdo, so bit it, but I wouldn’t recommend dancin’ a jig on the freeway. And if you’re super uncoordinated like this white chick (meaning me, just to be clear), just take safety precautions, okay?
6. Read things that inspire me, watched videos that inspire me and make me laugh, that uplift me, that show me how to see things with different perspective, played funky music that made me get up and dance and sing, even if it was probably scary looking and made the dogs cry.
I love hot tea. I know it’s summer and believe me, Mississippi summers suck. It’s hot as hell here!!! Well, I’m guessing. Probably not, but it’s super freakin’ hot!!
But when you have the a/c on and it’s nice and chill in your house, so much so that it makes you forget about summer heat lurking outside the door (or almost), you might wanna put a kettle on. This is a nice way to spoil yourself, or this is how I spoil me.
7. Put on a kettle of water and steep yourself a nice cup of hot tea in one of your favorite flavors with some nice raw honey, which is also healing for your body.
Did you know honey is nature’s antibiotic?
And, well, this post has gotten too long, so I’ll stop here, but you get the idea, right? Have a Be Gentle With Yourself Day. Talk nicely to yourself. Focus on what you have. Focus on what you’ve done well, what you’ve accomplished. Tell yourself “I love you.” Talk loving things to yourself and just know you are awesome and you can do anything, and you still have time, and forgive yourself, try to enjoy the ride, look for the good things, the lessons, and know you will be okay.
Ciao for now. Love you! Smooches! xoxo