Monday, February 2, 2015

Loving Yourself, Lesson 1

Cheers All,

I'm excited to start a series on self-love. If you recall when I started this blog almost 4 years ago, the mission was to find true love in a big city. After 2 years of searching, exploring, and finally letting go I realized that the love I was looking for was inside me all along. A few months after that revelation, I found myself meeting and falling in love with my current partner. It's been 2 years since, and we are more in love than ever.

I know from personal experience that loving yourself must come first though. What's really interesting is that back then I thought I loved myself... But the truth was I lied to myself. It was a gradual process of opening up and seeing the truth. First I became my own best friend, encouraging and believing in myself, becoming my own biggest fan. Finally I felt utter love and acceptance within. It was blissful. I stopped looking outside of myself, for everything I needed I already had. Some people disappeared from my life, but more people came in. The world turned its most magical colors on.

I can't say that I never experienced that love before. I did but it would always be conditional. If I loved what I created in my life I would love myself back. If I didn't - no love. It was tough love. As such I was getting mixed results when it came to creating my life. It was similar to economical cycles: ups and downs. Sometimes I would feel on top of the world, sometimes all the way at the bottom.

Although life cycles are inevitable, the way we respond and deal with them is influenced by how we feel about ourselves. When we love and accept ourselves, any problem is viewed as a welcoming opportunity to expand and grow. We believe that the Universe loves us and is on our side. Things simply work out for the best. And when we don't it seems as if everything is against us.

As it happens in life, I wasn't always capable of sustaining that blissful state. There would be moments when I would feel insecure and undeserving. But because the foundation was already there, I was always able to bring myself back. Even during the darkest hour of the soul, the love within would light my heart and bring me back. I must admit it even saved my current relationship several times before I realized that all I had to do was to keep loving myself. Whenever I was unhappy with myself or the life I created it would reflect in my relationships, and my partner would mirror back to me my insecurities.

It wasn't till the day we almost walked away from each other that I realized the reason was my lack of self-love. I turned back to myself again, the light of love filled my heart and lit my face once again. As a result a relationship with my partner recovered and blossomed again. From that moment on it became my mission to look withing first and see what's missing. Whenever I am triggered to blow up and look for validation outside, now I simply turn inside, acknowledge my inner yearning, and give myself love. Everything else works out magically.

And this is how once again I was reminded that self-love should be a beacon of our existence. Naturally, I wanted to share and inspire others who needed it.

Besides by exploring this subject we dig deeper and learn more. Learning about ourselves and falling in love with ourselves is a lifetime process. For we are never the same, we are forever changing and growing. Love needs to adapt, it needs to grow in tandem.

But enough, lets get to business!
The first lesson on self-love has been inspired by my favorite New York gals. We live in such a driven society here where being busy is not only necessary but admired. Always on the go (even when there is no real need for it), there is little time left to direct focus on ourselves and simply enjoy our own company. With never-ending deadlines at work, almost daily visits to the gym and dinners with girlfriends, we sacrifice our time to relax and give ourselves pleasure. But in order for a woman to be happy, she needs to have pleasure in her life.

I believe every New York woman during crunch time at work (which is most of the time) follows the following routine: working a 10-14 hour day without a break, eating at her desk, not going outside to get some fresh air, eating junk, eating late and unconsciously, not getting enough sleep, surviving on coffee, putting on whatever she sees in the morning (and probably the same clothes every other day), and basically giving herself up completely to meet someone else's deadlines. The moment she gets to look in the mirror she starts seeing everything that's wrong: pale and dull skin, nails in bad shape, extra pounds on her hips, sad and exhausted frame overall. Almost like a sweater that's been worn too many times and now needs proper cleaning.

So what do we do. How do we show ourselves love?

1) First, take it easy. Don't be hard on yourself for eating too much sweets and not exercising. I am a victim to my draw filled with chocolate goodness. So what? I just tell myself, it's ok. I ate too much candy today. I will stop now and eat an apple and that's all there is to it. I love myself. I know I can do better, and I will. But for now, that's what's happened and I understand I needed some extra sweetness in this cold hectic office full of exhausted and crazy people. I'll go home, skip my dinner and do 1.5 hour yoga. Tomorrow I will stop at Whole Foods and buy a bunch of fresh yummy fruit. I deserve it.

Note: You see what I did here? I was gentle with myself, I was loving. As a result I came up with a wonderful plan to get off that processed sugar trap and nourish my senses with fresh and nutritious food.

2) Second, I stop sacrificing all my time to work. I find little breaks here and there to find pleasure. I go out to get some nice organic coffee. I walk over to my colleague and have a lovely chit chat about fashion and travel. I take my phone and flip through some pictures of my kitty. I text something sweet to my honey. I pull out my journal and scribble my dreams for 10 minutes.

Note: Again I find time to nourish my soul. I love my soul and want to give it some attention. Small things go long way here.

3) Multitasking. I find ways to take care of myself at any time.

I stand up and stretch as I look for some files or need to print something out. I spray Rose Water on my face as I am drafting another email. I snatch my file as I go to the bathroom and give my nails a quick touch-up. I squeeze my kegel muscle any time during the day, I put on earphones and turn on Nina Simone, I listen to the inspirational people when my work doesn't require stellar focus. I leave at a decent hour, and login from home. Now I can put a face mask on, make a cup of oolang tea and still meet my deadline.

Note: I find ways to develop and grow from inside out. Work on myself won't be at expense of other work. As a result I feel nourished and taken care of even when most of time is spent in the office. I radiate calm and happiness. Colleagues cool down around me.

4) Getting enough sleep. Above all I make sure to get a good night sleep. As soon as I leave office, my mind is focused on me, and giving myself pleasure. Even if I only have 1 hour before bed, I'll spend it on me. I'll light a candle, have some tea, listen to jazz, cuddle with my partner, take a nice shower, put fresh underwear on, and snuggle under the covers.

Note: I could be tired but I feel loved. I know I've done all I could to show and give myself love. My lover and my kitty feel it and mirror it back to me.

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