In my first blog I wanted to approach the subject of learning Self care. There exists an unspoken subject in our world and that is our negative inner dialogue. So many of us, myself included are guilty of negative self dialogue and not caring for ourselves enough. If only we were taught about the power of thought and positive thinking when we were young! After 40 years of my life I have learnt the immense impact that our thoughts have on our lives, our being, our whole life experience and how we can become trapped in a negative cycle from possible negative childhood experiences which in-turn enormously influence our perception of others and of the world around us.
I have learnt that our thoughts power our perception of the world and impact much of our life experience. If only we were taught from a young age the immense inner power that we have through our thoughts to become the creators or destructors of our own world. The reality is that our life experiences affect our thoughts from a very young age, our thoughts affect our perception of others and the outside world and our life experience then mirrors the thoughts that we project outwards. We can very easily become trapped in a negative cycle for much of our lives of negative self dialogue, and negative thinking which can lead to negative behaviour and actions resulting in painting a negative picture in our lives and negative life experiences. This process will continue until we consciously break this cycle of negative thought and self dialogue and turn it into positive thought.
Many of us may have suffered damaging or negative childhood experiences that have distorted the way in which we see and think about ourselves and perceive others and our world, seeing danger instead of safety, creating fear instead of comfort and creating negative seeds of thought in the mind, distorting our inner dialogue and self image and life experience for much of our lives. This negative inner dialogue creates a perception that returns to us just like a mirror image of our life experiences.
One of my biggest lessons on my own path practicing and teaching Yoga has been learning the importance of self care, self acceptance and self love. How can we take care of others and share positivity and love with others unless we take the time to check in with ourselves regularly to ensure we are ok, deal with any healing that needs to take place and take the time to change negative inner dialogue and thinking around to be a positive dialogue resulting in positive thoughts and in turn positive and healthy behaviour? The more we work on ourselves, the more we have to give to others and the better people we will become, creating positive thoughts, positive perception of others of situations around us, and eventually creating positive action and positive life experiences for ourselves and for others.
I have learnt that it is ok to accept that we have experienced much life conditioning, that past experiences may have shaped the way we think, the way we perceive the world, the way we talk to ourselves and the way we feel about ourselves. I learnt that it is even more ok to focus on changing all of the negative conditioning that we may have accumulated over many years carrying it around with us every day, and to free ourselves of it. To become free is the most beautiful gift I have learnt in my life, freedom of thought, freedom to make a change for the better and freedom from conditioning. To gain freedom of knowledge that we can create whatever we want to in this lifetime and that the possibilities of good that we can create are endless… but we must change the way that we think and perceive life to be a positive and grateful experience.
How do we break this negative cycle of thought that we may have become stuck in?
By taking the first step to become aware of our inner dialogue. By becoming conscious of how we talk to ourselves. Does the mind repeatedly come back to the same inner language and do we find that we criticise ourselves regularly? We all I think criticise ourselves in some form or another. We may notice that this negative self dialogue on a physical level is because we perceive ourselves to be overweight, not good enough, not valid, we may perceive ourselves to be ugly comparing ourselves to others or too thin or on an emotional level we may hold much pent up frustration, anger or sadness from a trauma or life experience that we have not dealt with and by burying these destructive emotions we end up in time turning destructive emotions in on ourselves.. possibly creating ill health mentally, emotionally and physically.
We forget far too quickly with the materialistic and superficial world that we live in that we are so much more beneath our physical bodies and our beautiful skin. We are souls that radiate light and beauty and absolutely no person or life experience can take that away from us. We may feel broken at times in our life but we have the power to gain strength again, to empower ourselves and to work forwards positively to a life that we ourselves can create by the power of positive thought.
Body dysmorphia affects many of us. It is a taboo subject that is not spoken about and if left to continue can create much damage in our worlds and that of our children. Many of us due to negative self dialogue or negative childhood experiences, unspoken anger or trauma may have created a negative perception of ourselves which we may have carried with us for many years.
We may have fallen into the trap of lack of self esteem and negative thoughts that lead to negative emotions that then continue to lead us into a negative spiral into negative inner language and lack of self love and in its most intense form destructive negative behaviour. If this form of thinking is not acted on it can lead to much damaging inner talk and action in life as well as mental and physical illness.
The amazing news is that we can make the choice to change! We have the power to turn our stuck way of thinking around and to change our inner and outer world for the better!! We need to remember that we are able to change this form of thinking by becoming aware of it and to begin to learn how to love and care for ourselves again. We need to gently and lovingly learn self acceptance, self love and self care, that we are beauty, we are love and that we are so so much more than we perceive ourselves to be. Only once we begin to believe in ourselves can we take those vital positive steps forwards to change the picture that we have painted of our inner and outer world.
By taking small steps to begin to become aware of our inner self dialogue, our inner thoughts, becoming aware of where the thoughts stem from and by beginning to work with acceptance, self love and self care, we can begin to heal ourselves from trauma, become conscious of turning negativity to positivity and find the wonderful world of self care as a soothing and comforting anchor in our turbulent worlds to come back to time and time again.
Practising regular self care will help to nurture us, to remind us of the wealth of our inner and outer beauty and to allow us to free ourselves from a life of conditioning, paving our way forwards to a more positive future filled with positive inner thoughts, positive inner and outer perception, self care and self love which will little by little open us up to a world of wonder, to a world that we did not know could possibly exist for us, a happy, healthy, positive world that we, ourselves have the power to create… we just need to begin to believe in ourselves again.. and that we can create positive change by choosing to.
Some Tips for first steps towards Self care & Self Love:
• Begin to practice daily affirmations
“Forgiving frees me from the past, and allows me to live in the present. When i forgive myself and others I am free”
“I am always protected. When a fearful thought comes up, I recognise that it is trying
to protect me. I thank it and let it go with love”
“I choose to see myself and life in the most positive ways”
“I think and say only what I want to create in my life. I am more than adequate for all
I need to do”
“I am willing to let the love in. It is safe to let the love in”
“I am worthy, I am love and I allow myself to receive love”
“I love and accept myself exactly as I am. When I accept all of myself I am whole.”
“I am always safe. I release my emotional attachment to beliefs from the past so that
they do not hurt me in the present. I am safe”
“Everything I need comes to me at the right time. I ask for help by telling life what I
want and allowing it to happen”
“I deserve love, I deserve joy”
“I recognise the true beauty of my being”
- Begin to enjoy cooking and eating! – Make a choice to begin to nurture yourself and enjoy the process!
- Eat early, give your body time to digest food and sleep!
- Try to create a gentle, healthy discipline during the week to get some early nights and eat as healthily as possible. – Give yourself a little slack at weekends but remember to stay on track with healthy eating, to be consistent, to enjoy your delicious new healthy way of eating and that your body deserves to be nourished. Try to lay off the alcohol for a while.. you will feel so much better for it!.
- Start Yoga practice! – Begin to breathe again! Learn to breathe deeply, to begin to accept and connect to your body, find your space on your mat, and let go! The breathing and physical exercises in Yoga and taking a moment just to bring the mind to the breath can help enormously to calm the nervous system and ease stress, tension and anxiety.
- Try Yoga Nidra Guided meditation – Yoga Nidra is a wonderful tool that Yoga offers. It is a simple guided meditation that we can connect to online and just lie down, relax and enjoy! Yoga Nidra helps to work on an unconscious level to take us into a deep state of relaxation of the body and the mind and where we create positive affirmations whilst in a deep state of relaxation.
- Get a massage! Allow yourself to receive care and begin to work to remember the importance of it.
- Regular healthy exercise – Try the odd class of Zumba! (there are now many levels of Zumba, from Zumba strong to Zumba gold for those that find normal Zumba too much). Begin to dance!! Or find some fun exercise routines on youtube a couple of times per week to keep the circulation and oxygen moving around the body and to keep the muscles strong. ( Always consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine if you have any existing health issues) If you enjoy walking or running get out and about and breath in some fresh for a while at the same time as moving the body.
- Immerse yourself in the healing powers of nature. – Take regular walks in nature and remind yourself of the incredible natural beauty that surrounds us. (I will be writing a separate blog on the healing power of nature as this is a subject I feel very passionately about!) Nature in my opinion is completely underestimated. A disconnection from nature can create serious imbalance in our mental health. Nature is wonderful, powerful, soothing, healing and deeply nurturing. We connect with nature and nature connects with us. We are unconsciously connected to nature and everything that forms part of it. Make the choice and the effort to take time to get back to nature regularly, go for walks and breathe in the fresh air, the beauty of your surroundings, feel the connection that you have with the earth and the grass beneath your feet. Breathe in the beauty of the flowers, the strength and age old wisdom of the trees and the precious nature that is all around us.
- Be inspired! – Find things and people that inspire you, allow yourself to become creative in achieving what you want to achieve and most importantly what makes you happy!
- Begin to practice gratitude – Practicing gratitude is very powerful. By sending out positive messages of gratitude (try by beginning with taking time every morning when you wake up and giving gratitude to who we are, to our bodies for the work that they do, for what we have and for the positive day that is to come ahead of us.) By giving out positive thoughts of gratitude we are planting a seed of positive thought that creates a powerful vibration sending out thought waves to the universe that will in turn come back to us as positivity.
There are plenty more tools for learning self care, these are my favourite and the ones I wanted to share in my first blog about Self Care!
Remember remember remember… to love and value yourself!! Always! You are beautiful, you are worthy and you are enough. Begin to send out positive thoughts and wait to see what magic you can create!