When it comes to self-love we can all too easily fall into the trap of thinking that it is about feeling happy and positive twenty four seven.
That that is somehow the goal.
To never have a bad day and always have a smile on your face.
But being positive and happy 100% of the time is unrealistic and not at all what self-love is about.
Try being happy and only ever having positive thoughts and feelings and you will suffocate yourself.
Self-love is not about being happy all the time. It’s about being real - tweet it!
So when you’re having an off day and feeling crappy, the self-love way is not to try and run from it or cover it up (that will actually just make it worse). The self-love way is to lean into it, sit with whatever you’re feeling. Embrace it. Welcome it in.
Because as you embrace and honour how you’re feeling, you embrace and honour you. As you lean fully into how you are feeling, you lean more fully into you.
And that is what self-love is all about: accepting yourself fully, exactly as you are and exactly as you are feeling, in any given moment.
But even more than that, really feeling your feelings gives you power.
Because when you listen in to your feelings, without judging them or running from them, and instead ask 'Where is this coming from? What can I learn?' you will find that these feelings can act as powerful guides - showing you where you need to change something - either in your life or in your attitude. Or where you simply need to practice more self-love.
Using your negative feelings in this way is a key tool in creating and living a wholehearted life.
It's also incredibly liberating. There is something deliciously rebellious about being allowed to sulk in the name of self-love.
So next time you wake up on the wrong side of bed and feel in a funk. Don’t fight it. Lean into it. Wrap it up in love and discover what these feelings are here to teach you...
Here is an exercise to help you do it:
Step 1: Let yourself FEEL how you’re feeling
Take a moment to sit quietly with your eyes closed.Then say out loud how you're feeling:
'I feel... <insert feeling>'
Keep repeating it, gently, over and over and feel the weight of it lifting as you start to fully embrace how you're feeling without resisting it, judging it or making yourself feel bad for feeling it.
Step 2: What is triggering these feelings?
When you’ve got comfortable with how you’re feeling and have fully allowed yourself to be with it, then you can explore where these feelings are coming from, what they are showing you and what you can do about it.
It might help to write things down as you do this.
Here are some questions you can use to help yourself identify why you are feeling like this, what has triggered this feeling and what you can do about it.
· Where is this all coming from?
· Did something specific happen that made you feel this way?
· Is there an area of your life that just isn’t making you happy?
· Has someone hurt or upset you with something they have said or done (whether they meant to or not)?
· Are you the one making yourself unhappy with unrealistic expectations, by being too harsh on yourself, piling on pressure, comparing yourself to others, criticising yourself?
· Are there things out of your control that are upsetting you?
Step 3: What can you do about it?
Once you’ve identified where these feelings are coming from, ask yourself what can you do about it? How can you deal with this situation in a positive and loving way?
· Is it time to bring about a change in your life, big or small? What can you do to get that started?
· Is there something missing from your life that you need to bring into it, like creativity, a daily spiritual practice or exercise? What can you do to get that into your life starting this week?
· Has someone hurt you and you need to have a conversation with them? How can you approach it with love and compassion?
· Have you been hurting yourself by being too harsh on yourself, comparing yourself to others or putting unrealistic expectations on yourself? If so, how can you make it up to yourself? What messages of love, support and forgiveness can you offer yourself right now?
· Do you need to simply surrender and accept that there are things right now that you cannot change? In which case what can you do to give yourself the love, nourishment and support you need, as you go through this challenging time?
Once you have come up with a positive step you can take, all is left is to go and do it.
It is a simple practice but so powerful and as you get more into it you will find that you start to actually value your funky days and those negative emotions and will stop seeing them so much as 'negative' and you'll start seeing them more as feelings that are here to guide you.
So give it a go next time you are feeling sad, upset or angry and let us know how it goes!