on self love...
Today I woke to the sound of a familiar voice...
You know the one I mean. I'm talking about the one inside my head that says, "You should be out exercising right now. You're being lazy. Your skin is awful! You should be eating more raw food. You're really letting yourself go." This mini-inner tirade finally landed on the inevitable, and always soul-crushing shame monster voice whispering "And no one will love you". I watched the whole thing happen, watched myself swallow the words like poison and spiral down into a mucky grumpy funk, before I even stepped out of bed. Now, I'll say that this doesn't happen often but when it does, oh man, it knocks me out and can seriously set the tone for my whole day. I'll also say that I tend to be a person who's comfortable in her own skin, and most of the time for better or for worse doesn't care much what others think. I ask myself why, after all the yoga, meditation, women's empowerment circles, self-care practices, healing work around body image from the messed up cultural standards...why does it still get to me?
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali writes:
Vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam.
“When disturbed by negative thoughts, opposite [positive]
ones should be thought of. This is pratipaksha bhavana.” - Sutra 2.33
This sutra teaches us that by replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, we can actually rewire the way we think, and as a result the way we feel, and how we show up in the world. Try it out with a negative belief that you hold about yourself. It might feel a little goofy at first but that's how mantra works, repetition, over and over again, until it's just there and eventually you believe it.
To be honest, I wish I could wave my magic wand and just make this inner critic voice shut up once and for all and just be the sparkly love-light yoga crystal babe all the time. But that's not realistic and that's also not me. It's an incredibly important part of our journey to feel the full spectrum of our feelings, and to explore the root causes of our core beliefs, both positive and negative.
For most of us, even when we think we've done the work, when we've become super woke and enlightened, when we're feeling great about ourselves, this little voice will start to whisper in our ears again, reminding us of our deepest fears, saying "There's no way it'll stay this good for long! Something bad is going to happen." When it comes down to it, what needs to change is the way we respond to our thoughts. What we believe is what we do is what we are. So. Which thoughts do you give the most "airtime"? What beliefs and patterns are you cementing into your field and your life? Today I choose to reach for a better feeling thought.
I am OK just as I am.
I am enough.
I am beautiful.
I accept myself unconditionally.
I am loved.
At the end of the day I remember that with all the violence, destruction and hatred in the world, the most revolutionary thing I can do is to love, starting with me.