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Archive for the ‘Self-love’ Category

Change The Conversation

What is your relationship with yourself like?

When you talk to yourself, what are your conversations like?

Are you kind or judgmental?

Do you criticize or encourage yourself?

Do you give yourself time to do the things you love?

How often do you tell yourself how much you love and appreciate who you are and what you do?

Are you uplifted or depressed by the thoughts in your head?

If the conversations you are having with yourself are bringing you down, I encourage you to practice the art of changing the conversation.  When you notice you are feeling bad, pay attention to what you are telling yourself.  Then begin to consciously change those words by stating their opposite.

Here is an example from my own life.  I have always expected way to much of myself.  I have a tendency to say to myself things like this:

You did not get that done.  You should have done this.  What have you been doing?

Here is how I learned to change those thoughts:

Look how much I got done today.  I know I did not get everything accomplished that I had hoped but it was a good day.

Although I still have moments when those old thoughts rush in I catch them sooner and turn them around.  I tell myself daily how much I love and appreciate who I am and all I do.  I take time at the end of the day to honor myself.

It is easy to change the conversation.  You just have to practice…a lot!

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Have you ever considered what motivates you to take action in your life?

A friend of mine uses fear.  She takes action from a place of fear.  Fear of what will happen if she does not force herself to do something she thinks she should be doing.

Unwilling to force myself into action from a place of fear I examined my behavior which results in no action at all.  I talk a lot about what I will do but never seem to take the leap into total action.

I discovered I was talking about it and not doing it partly because I had not really made a commitment to love and support myself.  On some level I was still questioning whether it was right, would I do it right, what would happen if…you get the picture.

I was judging myself and my motives and they did not match up to who I really am.

Then I began to ask myself what it would be like if I made the choice to take action from a place of love.

What if I took the action I wanted to take because I knew without question it was the most loving thing I could do for myself.

What if by making that commitment and following through with a consistent shift in behavior I would be proving I loved myself enough to give myself what I truly wanted.

So, I decided  to take action in the direction of what I wanted without being afraid of what might happen.

I decided to stop judging myself.  I began to praise myself for each tiny step I was making in the direction of my dreams.

I decided to begin to show myself how much I value my relationship with myself.

I decided to provide myself with the love, respect and support I always looked for outside myself but discovered lived inside me all the time.

Now I am focusing on the love within instead of trying to find it somewhere outside myself.

 

 

 

 

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I had to laugh at myself today.  I actually wanted to return to the peaceful solitude of winter!

This past winter I made great progress staying in the present moment.  Those delicious times of peace and joy felt so wonderful.

Unable to locate work outside my home I focused all my energy on creating art and letting go of all those things inside me that kept me from living a life of peace, love and joy.  I dug deep, learned some new ways of letting go and even shared them with my friends and those who read these posts.

I thought I was ready to face anything and still remain in a state of peace, love and joy.  As usual, my expectations were a little too high.

Now that Spring is here I find myself juggling more part-time jobs than ever in addition to building two businesses.  The madness in my head is keeping me from sleeping and slowing down my ability to deal with the tasks at hand.

They say we teach what we most want to learn.  I feel like I just entered graduate school and forgot everything I ever learned.

So, today I am returning to the basics I have been teaching and applying them to my new situation.

Pay attention to the emotions first.  When I feel uncomfortable instead of allowing my mind to keep thinking thoughts that are causing these unwanted feelings I give it a new job to do.  I ask it to help me identify what I am feeling.

Once I know what I am feeling I sit with it and allow myself plenty of time to feel it intensely.  Emotions are energy passing through and I know if I do not let them out they will make me miserable, my body sick and prevent me from finding that place of love, peace and joy.

When the intensity is gone, which only takes a few moments, I imagine myself offering love and compassion to a child or a pet that is hurt or crying.  I hold those thoughts until I begin to feel the love flowing in and through my body.  That allows me to experience the love my emotions were blocking.

Then I offer prayers of thanksgiving for this experience.  I know its purpose was to help me see a part of myself that needed to be healed in order for me to live the loving, peaceful joyful life I desire.

Next I focus my thoughts on gratitude for everything I can think of in my life now.  I am grateful for the chair I sit in, the desk that holds my computer, the computer, the internet that connects me to you.

Ah, now I am feeling better.

It looks like I have a lot to learn this season.  At least with my new tools I can make it an adventure to discover what else needs to go so I can free myself of past behaviors that no longer serve me.

I will keep you posted on my progress.  Who knows, I might learn something that will help you as well.

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There is a great classic comedy skit where the therapist tells the client he can solve any issue in five minutes.  When the client begins to describe the problem and all the fear that surrounds it the therapist stops the client.

He then proceeds to tell the client to listen carefully to his advice.  If the advice is followed the client will be cured for life.  The advice is simply two words.  “Stop It!”

Although we may find this funny there is truth in the advice.  If we know something we are doing hurts then in order to feel better we must  stop doing it.

It is easy to see this in physical actions like putting your hand on something hot.  If you touch something that is hot and you get burned you tend to stop intentionally putting your hand on something hot.

What about the times we allow our mind to keep telling us the same story over and over that results in emotional pain?  Rather than stop the mind from running wild we continue to feel bad as it tells us the same story a thousand times.  And, with each telling we feel worse and worse.

We even begin telling others the story.  Maybe we think if someone agrees with us it won’t feel so bad.  At least we will have proof from someone else that we are somehow justified to believe this story that makes us feel so bad.

Then we get to listen to that person’s story that our story reminded them of and we can share in our mutual misery.  If others are in earshot they can join the party and soon we are all feeling hurt, pain and sadness.

We have within us the power to stop it.  We can stop allowing our mind to tell the same stories over and over.  And, we can stop telling that same story to others.

If you are just beginning to learn how to stop your mind it might help to simply give your mind a new job. Give it something else to look for and focus on.

I use gratitude to help change the focus of my mind.  Focusing on something in this present moment for which I am grateful gives my mind the task of looking for something I feel good about.  After continuing to give my mind this same job each time it tries to take me back to the old story I eventually begin to feel peaceful.  In time I find myself able to experience love and joy.

What is your favorite method of changing your thoughts?

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This week I worked with two different people who experienced difficult love relationship issues.  While the equally painful circumstances were unique to each person the responses were quite different.

One person chose to focus on the hurt while the other chose to bless the situation with love and forgiveness.

The angry person relived the experience over and over.  Thoughts of who did what to who kept feeding the anger and turned to deep inner hurt, pain and despair.

Having traveled the path of the angry person more than once in her life the other person knew it would lead her right back into illness and depression.  She was not willing to allow the experience to rob her of her new-found life filled with love, peace and joy.

Determined to find her way back to joy she chose to forgive herself and the other person.  She offered prayers of blessing for the other person.  And, she congratulated herself for seeing the truth and making the choice to love herself no matter what was happening in her life.

As I reflected on the atmosphere of both discussions I was reminded of how simple it is to change our life in a single moment.

We can choose to look at what we label as “bad” and dredge up memories of the past that support our view.  The painful emotions follow and we find ourselves in a state of self-imposed punishment.

Or, we can choose to examine this mess we find ourselves in and look for the “good”.  Focus on the parts of the mess that are better than the last time we created one and love and bless ourselves for having grown.  Then, focus all our thoughts and attention on being grateful for anything and everything we can think of that we love about our life now.

A simple shift in focus can bring us out of the past and future into the love, joy and peace of the present moment.

Is your focus on loving yourself or hurting yourself?  You have the power to choose right now.  What are you choosing?

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A large portion of my energy the past two weeks has gone toward my blessing bowl business.  The leather  bowls are always teaching me life lessons and these past two weeks were no exception.  The newest lesson had to do with what I think I am worth.

My art business has grown along with me since 2003.  It suffered a little this past summer when I felt it necessary to work a part-time job that turned into more of a full-time job.

This winter I decided to work on my art business.  I experimented with color stains, new designs and expanded my offerings to appeal to a broader market.  I created a place online for potential galleries to view the range of my work as well as tell the story of my blessing bowls.  And, I improved the appearance and offerings in my online shop.

Satisfied with my newly created inventory I turned my focus to marketing efforts and attracted two new galleries in one week.  The first one asked for the information I had to date not taken the time to create, like a biography of myself.  That task alone took me two days.

I did notice it was easier to create than if I had attempted the task two years ago.  I felt a sense of pride as I shared my story and accomplishments.

Then came the task of pricing my new works.  The owner of the first gallery had very clear ideas about what she wanted.  To my delight she appreciated the one-of-a-kind free form style pieces.  Creating these brings me the most amount of joy.  Yet, when it comes to pricing them it brings up all those thoughts about whether or not I deserve what I want.

Recognizing my dilemma my husband sat down with me to work out a systematic formula that would price the piece by the square foot for materials.  Then all I had to do was add my hourly wage to the material cost, double it and there was the retail cost.

When we got to the hourly wage my husband pointed out the amount I was currently charging less taxes meant I was barely breaking even.  I had been feeling uncomfortable about pricing for a long time.  I knew it would force me to acknowledge my worth.

The exercise helped me see I was making progress.  I had graduated from a gift shop to high-end galleries.  I was recognized as a professional artist.   I no longer needed to be concerned with how much a gift shop customer would spend.  I could ask for what my time was worth and know I would be honored and supported by the decision.

The two new galleries were already planning marketing efforts for my works and I had not even shipped them.  I was providing professional marketing materials and photographs to facilitate greater exposure and the potential for increased sales.  I was acting like a professional and being treated like one.

When I decided to give myself a well deserved raise I felt a deep sense of peace.  It was my spirit’s way of letting me know what I was doing and thinking was good.  It feels good to know I am finally beginning to believe I am good enough.

What do you think you are worth?  I can tell you the real truth.

The truth is you are worth far more than you think.

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Appreciate Yourself

My expectations of myself have always been higher than most people.  I thought I had done a pretty good job of changing that pattern until this week.

I put together a very impressive “to do” list for myself.  It involves tasks related to seven projects I am working on in addition to self, home and family.

I started thinking I should do more and do it faster. Thoughts of self-doubt and criticism began shutting down my productivity.

Fortunately, I recognized what was happening and began to stop the old pattern before it drained my life force completely.

Since my focus was on what I was not doing, I started writing down all the things I do in a day.  The friend who introduced me to this idea called it a “done list”.  She suggested I put everything I do on the list. This included letting the cat in and out, cooking, laundry, email, paying bills, etc.

List in hand, I congratulated myself for all the things I had accomplished.  I told myself how much I appreciate all the things I do.

I offered prayers of thanksgiving for the things I love about working from home.  Like preparing healthy meals for me and my husband.  And, the freedom to work with my creative energy spurts without punching a time clock.

As I offered myself, love, appreciation and respect I could feel the energy begin to flow again.

Just like the healthy food our body needs to work properly, our spirit responds better to a healthy dose of love and appreciation.

Today I added a permanent item to the top of my “to do” list:

Feed Penny love and appreciation now.  She deserves it.”

What are you feeding your spirit?

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