What if today you were exactly who you needed to be and you gave yourself the permission to do exactly what you needed to do? What if you remembered it's up to you? For worse, too many people seem to have fallen into a pattern of consequential care. By consequential care, I mean the pattern of: I'll take care of me after you (and the world) has acknowledged that I matter. We struggle to find our worth without an external mirror. And we suffer because of this. We suffer because, ultimately, our most important relationship is the one we have with ourselves. We need to be on our own list and do right by us! It's time that we work to let go of the ifs, thens, and whens and give ourselves permission to do right by us. Right now. It starts YOUR permission...
But permission is hard, even for those we admire. I had the joy of visiting one of my best friends a few weeks ago. To me this girl is the cat's pajamas. Liquid sunshine. She is fantastic! So, you could imagine my horror when she articulated one of my everyday vulnerabilities - her inability to put herself on her 'to-do' list without conditions or guilt. At first, she disclosed this simply as an afterthought saying: 'Someone needs to give me permission to get a massage.' Yet, as we talked more, we fell deeper into that honest space of best friendship (laughter and tears included!) opening up about the conditional relationships with self-care we both found ourselves in. Sounds familiar?
The conditions need to stop. As I write this (and plan to send my friend a massage or some bath treats), I am working on my own practice of self-loving even with my laundry and bills waiting. I implore you to do the same!
Here are 3 ways to love yourself better today...
1) Permission to STOP 'should'ing : It's okay to be where you are
The path of self-study can often lead to the path of self-doubt. I've come to lovingly call this the 'should syndrome'. You might have experienced it. It's that little internal voice that demeans your choices saying things like: 'I should have taken that job...' 'My relationship should look like...' 'I shouldn't have eaten that...' You get the idea. When I'm mindful, I've come to recognize how in my life 'should-ing' has led both to shaming and doubting. The only direction that 'should' leads is down! When you notice yourself should-ing give yourself permission to stop. It's okay to not be okay. And, it's okay to be great!
2) Permission to do something DELIGHTFUL: You are already worth it!
When you stop loving by conditions (or 'shoulds') there is NO reason to wait to enjoy the things that make you smile! In fact, you can do something right now!! Yes. Now. You can stop reading (unless you are fascinated of course) and take a sigh. Brew a cup of tea. Call your best friend. Life works better when it's the life you love... not the life you are waiting to love!
3) Permission to LOVE : Lead with Heart
I took a beautiful yoga class recently and the teacher reminded us that when we find ourselves frustrated with a person or circumstance to practice seeing ourselves in that thing. Whoa. I especially loved this wisdom because it challenges our practice of consequential care. It takes us back to the beginning. We all started in the same place. When I am able to see myself in something that I judge and accept it FULLY, then not only do I break the me / them barrier, but I actually practice self-love. When we find love in the imperfection, we find love today. We find love everyday. We find ourselves.