“The way we do anything is the way we do everything” (Martha Beck). If this is true, what would happen if we approached all things with a childlike sense of curiosity? As though there might be a cupcake on the other side of our efforts…With a thick batter of self love, icing of compassion, and a hefty sprinkle of creativity. Yes, my practice of self love whips up a hand crafted cupcake to mentally chomp on in times of doubt. To give myself a moment. To let that inner sweetness affirm my solid foundation even when it’s tempting to quit believing. Also, cupcakes. You could imagine whatever your thing is that might help you feel warm and fuzzy…a hug from mom or a kitten, for instance. No matter your imagery, above all, the trick is remembering what that represents: self love.
Because the thing is, we inevitably get down on ourselves. We doubt our abilities to make “it” happen. Listen to your inner dialogue, it won’t take long to hear it. There’s that little voice, criticizing how we didn’t start the laundry yet. Judging how we moved like a newborn horse during that workout. Faulting our day because we haven’t finished the to do list. Or maybe we don’t even have a to do list yet (…one of THOSE days?). Focusing on stupid* (*insignificant in the grand scheme of this life but could totally bum you out momentarily) little things, we create big ripple effects. Rippling into the way we speak to ourselves. Then into our relationships and our work. Rippling into our posture and how we communicate with the world. The thing about a ripple is, it can be hard to tell just how far the impact reaches…
So what if…you enjoyed a perfect cup of coffee or complimented that stranger on their hat? What if that pose isn’t possible right now, but you stick with the Yoga class anyway? Can you hear that little voice celebrating those mini victories? Can you imagine what would happen if for ALL the silly* (*insignificant in the grand scheme of this life but could totally stoke you out momentarily) little things, we made a big, joyous stink about them? What if we opened that door of possibility? To participate in a child like experiment, just to see what could happen. Perhaps we could create big ripple effects, but in a totally positive way. What do we have to lose? What do we have to gain?
Next time you notice a choice in your inner dialogue, consider treating yourself like a friend. This is self compassion advice from Dr. Kristin Neff (she is an expert and you might want to read into more of her research). So often we have unrealistic and perhaps even illogical expectations of ourselves. But do you have those same expectations of anyone else? What happens when a good friend approaches you for counsel to their struggles? It is unlikely that you’d agree with their inner critic. It is more likely that you’d try to offer a hug, helpful advice, or a creative solution. Because that is what they need to shift their mindset. And that’s a start.
So challenge yourself to stay mindful of your thoughts. And to be aware of the ways they shape your face. And to acknowledge that how we face anything is how we face everything.
This train of thought just dropped me off at one of my inner child’s top stations: Book Quotes World. One of my favorites from Roald Dahl is perfectly relevant to the theme of Week 6 (in which we practice self love):
“If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of your face like sun beams and you will always look lovely.”-Roald Dahl
Do you want to cultivate a little more self love, and/or want to explore these concepts in a playful workshop environment? If so, hop on over to the February Workshop Series page!
Want to be a fly on the wall while KT and I discuss these concepts a little more? Listen to episode 4 of Write Here, Right Now: the podcast, for an interactive creativity stimulating experience!
Stay lovely, friends!