Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Self Love

Why is it so easy to love those around us while neglecting ourselves?  Why is it we dismiss our own needs so easily to take care of the needs of others?  Why is it we see people as selfish when they are caring for themselves?  Why is it we continually tell ourselves we don't have enough time to do the activity we enjoy doing and would assist in alleviating our stress?  Why is it we show compassion and understanding to another person, and are relentless with ourselves?  Why is forgiveness so hard and why do we avoid it like it's the black plague?

Currently these questions are at the forefront of my mind because self love is an area I continue to struggle with.  Self-love has been one of the most difficult concepts to understand, consistently maintain, and put into practice.  As I move to greater understanding, I also realize how hard we are on ourselves and so unforgiving.  I'm guilty.  Guilty of continually beating myself up for not doing better and not forgiving myself for my "short comings".  Thankfully, I have gotten better about this but I have a long way to go.

Today, I awoke and made a pledge to myself to write about self-love...  to confess and share how I have neglected myself and have gotten caught in the obligation cycle.  You know what I'm talking about...  A to do list in our personal and professional lives that is a mile long and continually keeps us busy, then there's the kid's schedules and needs, the needs of an aging and sick parent, and all of the daily responsibilities in the home.  Do you succumb to the daily challenges of obligation and neglect yourself in the process?  I do.  The forgiving side of me reminds the critical side, that I have gotten better about this.  A few years ago, I would have been physically ill from the stress and increase in obligations I have endured in the last several months.   Thankfully, I have gotten better about meeting my needs and listening to my body, and try to not to get to the point of physical illness.  I try to remind myself my energy cup needs to be filled but I don't do it enough.  Recognizing the problem is the first step in correcting the problem.

Art heals my soul.  It's a beautiful release to the emotional eruption taking place from the world around me.  It also helps me work through and process the world around me.  But honestly, art isn't my only outlet.  This morning, my thoughts were why have I neglected myself so terribly?  Why have I allowed my obligations to get in the way with that which brings me joy?  While sitting here, I have realized I was still engaging in joyful activities in my life it just wasn't the activity I wanted to do the most and in return I wasn't staying in the moment of relief and getting the most out of my joyful activity.  I miss my old friend Art but I love walks in nature, listening to music, watching a funny show, and being with my children.  I think yesterday riding my bike with "S" allowed me to break some of my inner self free and led me here in my journey.  I may not have been hanging with Art but I have spent several days in nature, listened to the birds, laughed with my children and rode my bike...  all joyful activities.

So...  what have I learned and processed from this?  I need to say NO more frequently and then not feel guilty because I did.  When I feel the tinge of guilt, feel it, then release it, practicing forgiveness.  Forgive myself when I don't say no.  Exercise compassion with myself.  Take a few moments each day to soak in my joyful activity and really be in the moment, whether it's walking in nature, standing outside listening to the birds sing, listening to music and singing along, riding my bike, laughing at a funny show or my goofy kids, writing, or engaging in art.  Participating in activities that provide joy to our soul is just as important as putting food in our bodies.

Loving yourself is just as essential as loving someone else.  You really can't give love to another without fully doing it to yourself.  I hope that today you practice a little self love and engage in an activity that makes a smile creep across your face, your belly move from laughter and your cup overflow with joy.  I did.

1 comment:

Jamie Burch said...

THIS! I needed to read this beautiful post right now. Thank you! I struggle with guilt about everything, putting my to-do list first and staying busy, and not being mindful enough. I'm trying to get everything done so I can finally get back to focusing on writing. Life keeps getting in the way and I'm not seeing all the other things that bring me as much joy as writing. I appreciate this lovely reminder! Peace & Blessings...:)