Loving the Universe Inside You:
“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”
― Pema Chödrön
Taking care of and loving the universe inside us, this universe that makes us who we are and pushes us to do great things, is important. It is also important to understand the difference between "self-love" and "self-obsession."
Love means acceptance, kindness, encouragement, and care. When you love yourself it means you accept yourself as you are and you agree to love yourself in spite of all your imperfections and the things you don't like about yourself. Loving yourself is not about liking everything. You aren't ever going to so that. Loving yourself is being compassionate and kind even though there are aspects about you or your life the you don't like and wish were different.
When you love yourself, you show kind behavior to your soul and encourage it. Self-obsession, on the other hand, compels you to compare yourself to other people. It misleads you to fruitlessly prove that you are better than others in all aspects of your life.
Self-obsession makes you run a tiring race by competing with others. Comparing ourselves to others feels so horrible. All I have to do is notice what happens when I am on social media and comparing my life to someone else. It drains all your energy, develops negative energies inside you against other people or yourself, gives strength to toxic thoughts, and isolates you from the other people or throws you into a depression (at least that's what it does for me).
There are a number of ways to love yourself that do not send you down the path of self-obsession. These include engaging in positive activities that attract constructive energies. These constructive energies seep into your soul and your psyche and can help you move towards a life where your can create what you want without all of the negativity. Some examples of these activities are exercise, meditation, and reading books or finding good podcasts or videos to support a positive mindset. This takes intention and practice since we are pretty wired for negativity.
“Sometimes expressing your love is as important as loving.”
Therefore, you should express your love for your body and soul.
1. Communicate with your soul by writing or speaking. You can easily speak to your soul by standing in front of a mirror and talking to yourself. It might sound crazy, but it really works! I find that most people do well with the writing in the morning and this is my most favorite practice to get me grounded and connected to my soul and inner guidance. Take some time from your daily routine and talk to yourself about the achievements of that specific day. If you have faced any failure or any stressful situation, seek advice from yourself about it. Reply to your real self as if your soul is replying to your questions. This may be awkward or uncomfortable at first but will get easy with practice (and then you will find that you don't want to be without it in the morning!) If you can't do it in the morning, then before you go to bed to release anything negative that has arose that day, plus you can set intentions of how you want to feel the next day. Do this for 30 days and see how it totally changes how you feel and focus.
2. Find inspiring quotations about loving yourself and post them in various places in your room and workplace. The following Buddhist quote is attached to my mirror, with my name at the beginning:
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
This serves as a reminder. It's amazing to me that we think that we don't deserve love or good things to happen to us! We think it's okay for others, but somewhere deep inside of us we have in our subconscious some idea that we don't deserve love. This was a quote that I used every morning while getting ready to start shifting that within me. I let it float around in my mind throughout the day as a constant motivation to care for my well-being and to build new belief systems that I was in fact lovable. Find a quote that works for you or put your sticky note up on your mirror. If I was into tattoos, I would have probably done that just for the daily reminder!
3. Accept yourself as you are. True acceptance of yourself, where ever you are at is the key. The world is a challenging place to live in. People like to judge others because we are all conditioned for the "not good enough" tape. Remind yourself that whatever others think about you is about THEM and what they are projecting out about themselves and their beliefs or their own insecurities. Remember we are all a divine creation and the "not good enough" tape is just beliefs of what we have picked up with along the way. You don't have to buy into that.
4. Be kind to your body and soul. Practice things that are good for your body, such as exercise and healthy eating, and things that are good for your soul, like meditation or spirituality. When I would be going through some tough stuff that life was throwing at me or a relationship issue, I had often used that as an excuse to not take care of myself. Now the bigger the issue, the more I actually love my body and care for it. I go into radical self-care and nourish it. The stress that I am dealing with is enough at that time that I know that I need to deeply support myself in my body and soul.
No matter what is happening outside of you, you are responsible for your inner universe; nurture it, and it will reward you with constant discoveries about yourself.
This is a practice. Not a perfect. Remind yourself when you notice that you are being critical of yourself. We literally have to retrain ourselves to be more kind and get out of that inner critic mind.
With much love & light,