We live in challenging times, we are bombarded with what is going wrong in the world and if you are an empath it can be challenging to not take it all on board. It looks like we are going to hell in a handbasket and can feel overwhelming as to know how to sort out this mess.
People who love themselves remember to have compassion and kindness to themselves first and this makes it much easier to have compassion and kindness to others. Our world problems are only going to be solved by having compassion and kindness for one another.
What do you do if you don’t know how to be compassionate towards yourself?
1. You can try Journaling, write yourself a letter saying exactly how you feel about everything that is on your mind right now, hand it over to the good old fashioned pen and paper. Then read your letter (the next day if you want to) and write yourself a compassionate reply. Mail the letter to yourself and see how you may surprise yourself with what you have written.
2. Imagine if someone was telling you all their problems and they were exactly like yours, what would you advise them? How compassionate would you be towards them? Treat yourself with the same compassion you would a friend.
We are all doing our best at being human, some days it looks like we are making a terrible mess, but compassion will see us through.
Start with yourself.
What are your thoughts and feelings when you are ill? I can bet they are generally negative, seeing being ill as an inconvenience or a problem.
Our bodies are always trying to balance themselves and most of the time our symptoms are not signs of things failing but a sign that things are working. The symptoms aren’t generally from the illness they are a byproduct of your body fighting the illness.
A majority of skin problems are actually gut problems, the fact that you have issues with your skin is your body letting you know you may be eating things that you can’t digest properly and the rashes and irritations on your skin are the toxins and byproducts of that process.
When you have a cold or flu, your whole body is doing everything it can to fight the virus, the symptoms that you are experiencing are from your antibodies going into battle with the virus.
If you have sickness or diarrhoea, your body can be trying to expel something.
So the first most loving thing you can do is listen to your body and listen to what it needs. It has its own innate intelligence and your intuition or your gut feeling are your communication centres with it.
Use it, listen to it, what does it need? Is it water, is it rest, is it a certain type of food?
As Baz Luhrmann would say in Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
“Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own”
One of my journaling strategies for improving self love is something that I call Self Love Actions. I am completing a course with Tiffany Crosara (I highly recommend her work http://www.tiffanycrosara.co.uk) and on it we were introduced to what Tiffany calls “Tada’s” which is any action that after you have completed it you would say “tadaaaaa”.
I have been working with these and recently felt inspired to call mine Self Love Actions. You write in your beautiful journal all the actions that you have taken that day that are of a self loving nature. I have been doing this for quite a few months now and have found that it really makes a difference to how you feel about yourself, but I feel that size is important.
Traditionally we only recognise big achievements and anything less than that was not worth mentioning. When building your self love muscle it is important to recognise every little aspect of what you do. In doing so you start to become your own best cheerleader. You are training your brain to look for the positive all the time. It works so well that when you are having a bad day all you need to do is take an SLA pill and it all starts to feel better. A Self Love Action Pill is just you mentally listing all your SLA’s for the last 24 hours and as that starts to flood through your system, the medication starts to work and you instantly start to feel better.
Try it, start to list all the small things you have achieved in a day and over time you will have your very own little medicine cabinet full of SLA’s.
Go easy on yourself, you are doing better than you think. Whose standards and expectations are you measuring yourself up against? Who said it all had to be done in a certain way, time, place and within a certain budget.
Loving yourself means taking the time to stop what you are doing and give yourself a break, you really are doing much better than you think you are.
What would be the purpose of you setting yourself up to some standard that you never even bothered to read the smallprint on. Stop now and take a moment, just look and see what is stressing you out. Could it be an impossible standard that you have unconsciously adopted.
If ever I have a bath other than a night time I feel like I am doing something very wrong. Baths are meant to be before bedtime. So yes I have this programme running in my head which isn’t a biggie, it’s just about a bath and I am sure I can make the habit of having a bath at any time a relaxing experience instead of wondering when the water patrol are going to arrive. The issue is if you have lots of expectations that are no longer serving you, when are you going to stop and take some time to read the smallprint and throw out some old outdated routines.
You Are Loved
People who love themselves don’t compare themselves to others, if there is any comparing to be done it is only ever with yourself when reminding yourself of how much you have overcome.
Look at your life 12 months ago, how did you deal with things then, what things have improved? There will always always be something, no matter how small and speaking of size the smaller the better. A mountain is not climbed in one big leap, it is taken at a pace step by step, moment by moment. If you want to climb this mountain of life take it moment by moment, the slower you are the more time you have to appreciate the beauty around you. How can you notice the delicate flowers when you are running?
Our life is not measured by our breaths but by the moments that take our breath away.
Stop, slow down really really pay attention to yourself and acknowledge the beauty that you are. Whatever it is that you are doing there will always be someone better or worse than you.
Love you, appreciate you and watch other people fall in love with who you really are.
You Are Loved
Paying attention is a self loving habit, if something isn’t working or something feels off, just stop.
Stop and ask yourself what you need in that moment to make yourself feel better. Sometimes we don’t ask ourselves because we are frightened that we won’t be able to fulfil our own needs. It usually is something very simple and just requires us to be flexible.
Today after my teaching session I wasn’t feeling great but had a heap of marking to do and generally like to do it in school. I took 5 minutes to think about what I needed and it was that I should go home, have a rest, enjoy some sunshine and do the marking later.
I can have quite a fixed mindset and I most definitely dislike taking work home especially marking, but in this instance it was much more self loving to take a break.
Make it a habit to just stop for 5 minutes, get off the hamster wheel and just ask yourself what it is you need and is there a more self loving way of doing this.
You Are Loved
Attention, it’s all about attention. Self loving people pay attention to themselves and their needs. Yesterday I talked about breath and water and it is really interesting how our mind can convince us of something, it’s only when we really pay attention that we know what is going on.
I drink herbal tea 99% of the time so I was convinced that I was drinking enough fluids, it was only when I decided to pay attention and put my focus on it that I realised the truth, I should have had the auditors in sooner.
I decided to use the app Water Drink Monitor which records how much you drink a day against what you should drink (calculated from you inputting your weight). I was shocked to discover that I was only drinking 800ml of water a day, short of the recommended general of 2 litres a day and whey off my 4 litres calculated from the app!
In case you aren’t aware your body is roughly 75% water and your brain 90% water, so if you aren’t properly hydrated you aren’t giving yourself a chance. I won’t go into what type of water you drink, that is a new post.
You Are Loved
Our solutions to our problems are actually very simple, but we get so caught up in creating drama and responding to others drama that we don’t get chance to catch our breath.
I am an empath, which means that I feel the feelings of people around me. It is a gift because you know how people feel and therefore can help them with their needs.
It also comes with a responsibility to look after yourself. This can appear challenging as you get caught up in everything around you, not knowing whose feelings are whom.
Last summer I was talking to someone about my dramas of being an empath and she politely asked me some questions….
How much water do you drink?
How often do you just stop and focus on your breath?
I was agahst, did this woman not know how dramatic my life was and how much time and energy I had devoted to that! Surely my problems couldn’t just be sorted by going back to basics and checking in with those first?
I decided to demote my drama queen and go back to basics, water and breath, which are the 2 most important things for the living.
Self love can mean going right back to basics and making sure our needs are met first.
You Are Loved
Journaling, the how to basics……
When you journal you are getting in touch with a deep inner part of you, so treat yourself well. Find a nice quiet space, I personally like to light candles and incense, put on my healing music, cuddle up under a blanket and write with lovely coloured pens and in a beautiful notebook. Treat yourself well, treat yourself like royalty, a good journaling session can be a luxurious and nurturing activity.
Relax knowing that whatever you write is perfect, don’t hold back if you feel that its not what you should be writing, just look at the prompts and just allow yourself to flow. You will be pleasantly surprised by what you uncover.
Another way of thinking about it is to imagine that you had someone sat in front of you and they actually wanted to fully listen to you and fully hear you and are completely supportive of your situation.
If you have a situation that is on your mind then here are a set of prompts to help you
- How am I actually feeling about this situation (no holds barred, you don’t have to share this with anybody you just need to actually acknowledge and feel your feelings).
- When have I felt like this before? What was the situation, who was involved, what was the outcome?
- What did I learn about myself in this situation?
- If I had a crystal ball what would that tell me? (this is a fabulous no holds barred coaching strategy, because somewhere we know what is happening, we just haven’t found a way to verbalise it yet).
- Go back and do it again, yes again, its amazing when you go back to something how you may a have another layer of understanding. If you can, redo it 3 times and see what happens.
Good luck with this, be kind and gentle with yourself you are doing a great job.
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You Are Loved
So you’ve started to realise that not taking it personally is definitely a way forward to change your life and maybe you have dabbled in some journaling, but how do you keep up your stamina?
Surely you can’t spend the rest of your life lounging around with your candles and gel pens delving deep into your soul or maybe you don’t want to. There is life to be lead, work, family, children, relationships, bills, shopping, blah blah blah.
Well no it doesn’t have to be this way,
more of a change of attitude,
more of a noticing,
more of a paying attention to yourself
I wonder what is going on here
I wonder how I am feeling.
Just taking the time to notice, to pay attention on a regular basis will have an impact. If you are listening to yourself more, maybe you won’t need to get triggered because in the simple act of listening you are being proactive and don’t need the triggers to warn you that something is amiss.
As human beings we make life complicated and therefore assume that the solutions also have to be, they don’t.
The effectiveness isn’t just in the remedy but in how often you take it.
Be gentle, be kind, pay attention and in those moments, cherish.