5 WAYS TO MANIFEST SELF LOVE X A YOGI PERSPECTIVE
It really is a balance between self-care, self-confidence, and self-love. One benefit of yoga is the idea that we should aim to become less critical of ourselves. To love ourselves means that we give ourselves space for improvement and quiet the judgement that we place into our lives. I use the word "place" because it is something that can be observed and developed from within. Self love manifests over time. But it takes mindfulness. I've decided to write today's post about how one can love themselves a little more, without shame, regardless of what the world is telling you.
SELF-ABSORPTION VS. SELF-CONFIDENCE
I admit, we are part of a selfie-taking, attention-seeking, self-promoting society. It's something we all struggle with, we find ourselves feeling guilty sometimes, wondering if we share too much. Do I look self-absorbed? Am I being too flashy? Should I put myself out there more? These are questions that spring to mind as a yogi and young person who is working to help others learn about the benefits of yoga. In our teacher training, there was debate over what we should and should not share, what is appropriate, etc.
For me, I've always been on the side of loving yourself and doing what makes you feel good about yourself, as long as it does not harm another being. If you have creative juice, that should not be stifled. There's no rule that says you cannot have various interests and put them out there. Although, I do try to keep one principle in mind, Pratyahara. It is the fifth principle out of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. It means to withdraw from the world, to create space between yourself and what is happening externally. This helps me to find balance and stick to my true self amidst the over-saturation of images and videos.
I believe that what you put out into the world does come back. We live in a digital age, but that doesn't mean we can't share parts of ourselves. I typically post what makes me happy or reminds me of good times. Remaining mindful and reminding ourselves that social platforms are only extensions of who we are is key. By keeping this in the forefront of our activities, we can better engage with a detached approach. We react less to what is unhealthy and respond more to what makes us authentic and genuine.
IN GIVING, WE LET LOVE IN
Loving yourself means that you are kind to yourself. But it is also wonderful to give back to others. You can volunteer locally (I use Voly.org) or donate to an organization you are passionate about. For me, I love to go shopping and find pretty items and new products. After a while, I realized that if I was going to buy things, then that also meant that I had expendable income to give. So I decided that every paycheck I received, I would donate a small portion to a different organization. It wasn't that I was looking for the karma credit, but more so my small way of being thankful and showing some compassion.
It feels good to give. In fact, the more I do it, the more I feel a deeper love for others. Thus, those intentions and deeds come back and feed the soul in a deeper, yet loving way. I am on a journey, and I know that life is not all about me me me. We gain intangibly through giving our time or effort towards someone or something outside ourselves, and in turn, that brings love into our lives. True self love.
One of the ways we can begin to love ourselves more is to be more honest about ourselves and the current state of things. I've read a lot about the "false self" and how we sometimes create this alternative world in order to feed our egos. We have to come down from this habit. Making time in the morning to set the intention for the day can go a long way. Taking a few quiet moments of silence to reflect and accept where we are at, what we want to work on, and what we are thankful for is a major benefit and it molds us for a productive day. I don't always make time for my morning meditations, but when I do, I notice myself a little happier at the end of the day.
I've heard that two 20-minute sessions of meditation each day will give you so much more empowerment to tackle challenges and speak with love towards yourself. Meditation is also known as Dhyana. It is the seventh limb of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which tells us to focus one a single point without interruption, to still the mind. I feel more at peace when I do this, it's like I don't feel the need to emphasize shortcomings or conflicts. The morning is a great time for self-affirmations as well. One affirmation that always comes to mind is "loving kindness". It sounds a little cliche for those who don't use affirmations, but repeating them several times will give you a sense of positivity and a new boundary for more love and light. “Inhale joy, exhale love.”
So often, my calendar is filled with activities, meetings, appointments, and all the to do lists that never seem to end! In fact I have two calendars! But what I do is once a day, review and cross things off the list, re-arrange what's not yet complete, then shut it all off. I close my journals, calendars, calculators, and apps.
I like to zone out and listen to the Zen channel on my tv or chill out to some Lofi Hip Hop - Chill Beats to Study To. Or I turn on my Soundcloud and play some Words With Friends or scan IG for a while. On off days, I like to wake up, get dressed, go for an acai bowl or chia pudding or juice at none other than Jamba Juice, go thrift shopping, hit up Half Price, get my nails done, or just walk around the park. I chill in my car a lot as well. It's good to make time to do this! The photo above is me on my off day :) By giving yourself time to relax, you are communicating to yourself that you are worth it. Self love comes from knowing what we deserve and how we should treat ourselves. Make it a habit!
All I want to say about this one is that you have to get outside yourself. Don't wallow in self-pity. If someone has ever made you feel self-conscious, and trust me, I've had many sticks and stones thrown at me, the best thing to do is remind yourself that you'll always be who you are with the same body. Confidence is built through showing respect and love to our bodies and minds. Take care of you! It comes from doing what makes you happy and being unapologetic about it. Confidence is not built through self-comparison.
As a yogi, one of the most amazing things that I noticed when I first began Bikram was the level of self-acceptance in the studio as soon as I walked in. I saw so many body types but it was like a mini diaspora of uplifting individuals. Everyone is there to work on themselves, and that is was drew me into this practice. We all have different issues and things we want to improve, but it takes time and patience. Don't deprive yourself, nourish your body, and say out loud what you like about it. If you are ever on the receiving end of body-shaming, don't let that enter your heart. People only say things that they internally feel insecure about. It become easier to decode such negativity the more you love yourself!