By Sara Valentine, E-RYT200, YogaMotion RYS300 Liaison and Mentorship Leader
Each week my students hear the words that remind them to practice self compassion. I ask them to reflect upon the choices they make on their mat each week and to allow those choices to be made from a place of self care, compassion and patience for whom ever has arrived on the mat today.
Our practice on our mats is the most powerful time to understand ourselves more deeply, begin to listen to our hearts and act from a place of love instead of fear, patience instead of judgement and a deep inner knowing instead of confusion.
So how do we strengthen the ability to find love and compassion for ourselves? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Quieting The Inner Critic:
Begin to notice if you talk to yourself in a way that you would never talk to someone else. Each time you hear that voice telling you something negative try to reverse the statement or remind your self that you’re doing your best in this moment. That’s all any of us can do, right? Know that you are doing the best you can and it’s also just as important to notice who’s voice you hear…. was it a sibling or a parent from when you were growing up?
Be as gentle on yourself as you would a child learning something new. It takes time to embrace self acceptance.
I have to quiet mine every time I sit down to write!
2. Let Go Of Guilt:
Guilt serves no one. We can only move forward. Be aware of when you are feeling guilty for things like taking time for YOU. This is something I work regularly on with my clients (and myself) so they can truly embrace self care and know deep down how important that time is. And again, know that you are doing the best you can.
3. Begin to embrace a quote of the day for yourself.
Carry it with you or post it in your mirror to remind you of self compassion or simply being more patient with yourself. Here is one of my favorites:
“You can search throughout the entire Universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection”. Buddha
4. Do something that brings you happiness everyday.
You deserve happiness as much as anyone else. When was the last time you took time to do something just for you? A small pleasure of some sort just because it makes you happy. Don’t postpone. Know you are worth it!
5. Look in the mirror and say something nice about yourself.
How challenging is that for you? When we look in the mirror it’s usually the inner critic talking much more loudly than the voice of self compassion. We notice another wrinkle or we hate our hair, think our nose is too big etc. Each day look in the mirror and extend love to who is looking back at you. Embrace yourself exactly as you are showing up in the moment. Notice how easy it becomes to extend that understanding to others when we extend it to ourselves!
Try to practice one of the above each day. If this has brought up a realization that your inner critic is so loud that you just don’t know how to ever quiet it down I would encourage you to reach out for help with someone you trust to help you embrace self compassion. You deserve it! Working with someone who will encourage and support you to step into the best version of you. The world is waiting for you!
“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror!”