Dear loved ones,
It’s the week of love here at our household. Making valentines, planning a date with my husband, figuring out the candy limit for the kiddos – we’re all about it. Sure, as a culture we seem to have made every holiday about consuming more, and I don’t need to stuff my body full of chocolate hearts to feel the love (although it helps!). But there is something beautiful about all of the messaging we’re inundated with this week. Be mine, love you, be true, you’re all I need.
Here is my challenge to you, emerging women: let’s put ourselves on the other end of all of these loving messages. It seems like a simple change in perspective, but I find this to be one of the hardest things to do. Buddhist author Tara Brach calls turning love inwards like this “radical self-compassion.” I love that expression, though I feel like it’s almost redundant, because in my experience self-compassion is the most radical action we can take in the world.
As I have felt my way through big challenges like motherhood, marriage, career and now entrepreneurship, I see that I can sometimes fall into the trap of trying to manage my difficult emotions by beating myself up. I think, “I will give myself the ass-kicking that I need to really get off the couch – for once – and make real change in my life.”
Well, I don’t know about you, but for me this approach sucks. What has worshipping your unworthiness done for you lately? Nada. I love this painfully obvious yet game-changing reminder from Tara: “Imperfection is not our personal problem – it is a natural part of existing.” Right?!
And according to the research Kelly McGonigal presents in her book The Willpower Instinct, self-compassion is the shortest route to making long-lasting change of any kind in your life. It’s the mother of all New Year’s resolutions! And so I made self-compassion my only goal for 2015 – and maybe the next decade.
Like anything transformational, self-compassion and self-love only come alive through practice. HERE is my simple approach to this powerful practice – culled from the amazing Self-Compassion authors I have mentioned in this post already. Check out these 4 Steps to Radical Self-Compassion, and let the self-love-a-thon begin this Valentine’s.
This goes deep, friends, and the mind’s instinct toward blame and shame is powerful. You have to hit these practices hard, and don’t let up. Get those hands on your heart 50 times a day if you need it. It will be the best valentine you have ever given, or received.
Founder, Emerging Women