I know about looking after myself. On the outside.
We all do to some extent. We cut back on fats and sugars, read about the effects of gluten in our system. Devour articles on cleansing and de-toxing. We get the pedicure and dye the grey hair. We run and puff our way though exercise classes and try not to (insert anything here ) too much.
One of my yoga students commented to me that he had a voice inside him saying ‘do more cardio’. Yes I have that voice and others like it. The voice I don’t seem to have though is ‘do twenty minutes of loving yourself on the inside’.
I know I’m a nice person. But I also know that’s I’m not quite as nice as I would like to be. I’m not always as generous and loving as I would like to be. I grip fiercely to resentments, criticisms and judgements.
Today I heard someone say that if you have these feelings or traits it stems from not loving yourself. Sure you may not have grey hairs but do you criticize, judge or blame yourself? If you do this to yourself then there will not be enough love, generosity and all round good juice for the others in your life. If you make a habit of chipping away at your insides and esteem like this then there won’t be room for you to be the best teacher, father, partner you can be.
We often think we are being nice when we just care for others, we think it is spiritual and loving and caring to be everything for everyone else except ourselves.We think it is ok to be mean to ourselves but we would never treat others in this way. If you can’t be kind to your insides then you can’t be kind to those around you, truly kind.
There are no shops we can go to buy this internal love. It starts by recognizing where the big bad wolf rears its ugly head. Give it a name, if it’s self criticism call it Mr Meany, or something similar. Note how often Mr Meany shows up in your day. Each appearance is taking something away from you.
Practice for today: Take a few minutes out to work on loving yourself from the inside. Where can you let go of the self-doubt or judgement or blame today?