Featured in

Featured in: Tiny Buddha, Halifax Media Coop, Fine Fit Day, Simplify the Season, La Presse, Filles, Le Canada-Français

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Mindfulness - Love thyself

gags9999, Flickr

Following last week's post on getting rid of bad habits, I was planning to write about making good habits, but inspiration came to me in the form of Cupid. 

Valentine' Day is the celebration of love, with all kinds of consumerist and non-consumerist exhortations to treat others and show them our affection... but how often do we take the time to celebrate our love for ourselves?

This has nothing to do with narcissism or megalomania, but rather with a healthy approach of our self-worth.

It has nothing to do with lowering our self-expectations to the point of settling for mediocrity, but rather with knowing our limits and setting realistic goals accordingly.

As parents in particular, we often put our needs - and our wants - aside in order to attend to those of our children. Those who care for an aging parent or other vulnerable family members might also tend to put their own needs on the ice.

Many of us are also demanding and hard on ourselves, leaving little room for self-kindness: the flaws we would easily tolerate (or even find endearing) in others become intolerable in ourselves.

How about being kind to ourselves, for a change? Here are some ways we can apply kindness to ourselves:

Self-respect: I will avoid negative talk. It is so insidious than we often don't even notice that we're doing it - but it happens a lot: in front of a mirror, after an awkward interaction with someone, in the middle of a difficult task. I will pay attention to my internal dialog. If I catch myself in the act of self-deprecation (which is akin to insulting oneself), I will stop and replace the statement with a positive one, or at least an accurate one. Examples: 

I am not ugly - I have beautiful (fill in the blank: eyes, or hair, or feet, or muscles, or soul, intellect... whatever you like about yourself)

I am not lazy - I have a limited supply of energy, and I know when to rest.

I am not stupid - I don't know everything, and I sometimes make mistakes, that is all.

Which leads us to...

Self-compassion: I will have sympathetic concern for my own struggles, instead of self-loathing. Like anybody else, I have physical, mental and emotional limits. Why do I try to function like I'm some kind of Super Woman or Energizer bunny? I cannot go, go, go. I need breaks, I need time to rest, to reflect or to pull myself together. I need to progress at a reasonable pace. I need to admit that in some instances, I might even - imagine that - need help.

Self-care: I will take care of myself like I would for anybody else who's under my care: I will attend to my needs and listen to myself.

Self-love: I will recognize that even if I strive for growth and improvement, try and do my best, and always will... I am already enough

Mindfulness this Week

Let's focus on one very simple question this week: Am I being kind to myself?

Be part of the process: 

Submit your comments below

Become a follower of the blog/subscribe by email (top left corner of this page)


  1. Timely. I need more of this in my life. My inner-jew (my own worst critic)has had his way with me in recent months. Only now trying to dial into this. Thank you!

    1. My inner perfectionist has had its way with me too... but I am learning to let go of it. Cheers!

  2. "Love and self are one, the discovery of either is the realization of both!"

    As a surgeon, I often put others before myself. Bring a doctor is a mission. When I am not doing that, I am kind to myself. I think this is necessary, especially when our demanding career can be very depleting. Being at our best requires that.

    1. I think there are a few occupations that require putting yourself second (doctor, teacher, parent, etc.), and as you say it so well, they also require that we be at our best, hence the need to be kind to ourselves.

  3. My mornings mostly suffer as I make sure everyone else is properly ready. Any leftover time I have is when I quickly throw myself together, which could be all of 10 minutes where I barely look decent to run out the door. I'm tired of this. It has to change. Your post is resonating with me in a big way. Thank you for this.

    1. I'm so glad you are finding this inspiring to take care of yourself! Let us know how it goes. :-)