I was on my mat this morning, in a yoga class, moving through the poses and focusing on my breath.
I was also aware – quite aware – of the anxiety coursing through me. There was no particular reason for my anxiety, no particular reason for my mind and body to be on “high-alert,” but nonetheless, it was there.
So I was focused perhaps even more intentionally than usual on my breath. On my movement. On my mat. I was focused in order to allow my anxiety to lessen and my constant state of mild tension to ease.
Which is when I “heard” it in my mind… “I love you, Lisa. You’re beautiful.”
Now, trust me, I feel quite awkward putting it out to the universe (and all of you) that that is what was going through my mind. How embarrassing to let you all know that I told myself I love myself. How cringeworthy to let you know that I told myself I am beautiful. But I’m coming clean here and letting you know all this because first, I believe in coming clean and sharing my “shameful secrets” and second, as I’ve said many, many times as I talk about to the moon and back and my childhood experiences and the messages I’m hoping to spread, I believe that many, if not all, of us are way too hard on ourselves – too self-critical, too self-lambasting, too self-judging – and we all need a huge dose of self-compassion and self-love. And maybe the self-compassion and self-love can and should start with a smile and an “I love you (your name here). You’re beautiful” to ourselves.
It is, I believe, what many of us hope to hear, even if we don’t know we hope to hear it. It is, I believe, what many of us need to know.
That we’re lovable, just as we are. That we’re loved, just as we are. That we love ourselves, just as we are.
I was also listening to a song that our instructor played during class, as I practiced. I’m going to get the lyrics somewhat wrong, but basically, they seemed to say something like, “I don’t know that I’m okay, but when you tell me I’m okay, then I know it.”
I’ve finally learned that while it does feel great for someone else to tell me that I’m okay, what feels even greater, what sinks in even deeper, and what means even more is when I know I’m okay…and I tell me I’m okay. I’ve learned that we, each of us, need to – deserve to – come to know our own goodness and our own wholeness and our own beauty, all for ourselves. That it’s sweet icing on the cake when someone else reflects it back to us, but that it’s complete sweetness when it is simply in us and reflected within us.
Or maybe that’s just me.
It might be just me, or it might feel really, really great for you if you’re willing to tell yourself, “I love you (put your name here). You’re beautiful.” I encourage you to try it. And let me know how it turns out.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!