When she’s not in a courtroom or at a legal conference, mindfulness expert and yoga guru, Mona Tashroudian, shares her healthy living secrets in our “Ask a Mindfulness Expert” column. Come back the second Monday of each month for Tashroudian’s actionable tips to help you on your journey to becoming your healthiest, happiest self. Get more from Mona on her blog Mindfulness Law.
It’s February again. The month long-associated with romance. Store aisles are littered with items bearing pink and red hearts, decadent chocolates everywhere you look, and romance songs abound. Society tells us we must focus on love, usually the external kind, and shower our loved ones with gifts, candies, and teddy bears no adult really wants.
Growing up, we are taught how to give love. From the time we are born, we latch on to the affection of our parents, and, generally speaking, we continue to replicate these practices of love to others throughout our lives—whether it be through caring for someone, being in a relationship, or just spending time and energy on the important people in our lives. We do these acts, usually not because we must, but because we (hopefully) receive satisfaction from doing so. But, like with most things in life, too much can be, well, too much.
If you give, give, and give—and do not get, you start to pour from an empty cup. How does that work, you ask? It doesn’t. The cup is empty, and no one wins. How do you fill that cup back up? Easy. Learn to incorporate some self-love and care into your life. When most people hear the phrase “self-love”, they automatically think it’s a selfish thing. Interestingly enough, however, it’s actually the opposite. I am not suggesting you only do whatever it is you want to do, all the time, with no regard for anyone else. What I am suggesting is that you take some time to acknowledge yourself, treat yourself well, and to be more kind and compassionate to yourself. This is because when you learn to love yourself and treat yourself well, you not only better learn how to treat those you care about, but you become happier. When you’re happier, the love and care you give comes from a more pleasant, joyous place and those around you can feel the difference.
Bringing self-love into your life is quite easy to do, and below are 3 ways you can start doing today. Do these as often as you’d like; the more the better.
1. LISTEN TO YOURSELF.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the day-to-day grind that our true wants and needs are faint echoes within us. This is especially true with the current political climate—there is always something going on and opinions are flying around like bees on pollen. Solution: sit quietly and allow your mind to know itself. This could be in the form of mediation, but it doesn’t need to be. Just tune in every now and again and ask yourself, “How do you feel, (insert name here)?” For example, try this exercise after your next meal. Notice how the food makes you feel. Is it a good feeling? Are you content, or uncomfortable? Are you in pain from overeating, or did you not eat enough? Sometimes we don’t listen to what our bodies want and need, and end up feeling “not too well”, without really knowing why.
We ignore our feelings and eventually, they go away (until the next time). If a loved one came to you and said they don’t feel well, would you just ignore them, or would you listen and question to try to get to the root of the problem? I am sure the latter would be your plan of action. Treat yourself the same—listen to yourself and identify why you feel a certain way. You’ll be surprised how much you want to tell yourself.
2. TALK TO YOURSELF POSITIVELY, THE WAY A SMALL CHILD WOULD.
Before you skip this one, hear me out. Let’s be honest, we can be pretty cruel and harsh to ourselves. I think as women, we especially have a hard time acknowledging our own good qualities. Instead, we put ourselves down and say some not-so-nice things to ourselves, things we would never repeat to anyone else. Our harsh comments can be related to our looks, accomplishments, and/or abilities. In our own heads, we usually fall short in all these areas, no matter how wonderful the outside world may perceive us.
Next time you hear that voice creeping in to say something less than praise, pause for a moment. Then, imagine as if you are about to say those same words to a small child (maybe even reflect on you as a child). Would you continue to say whatever it is you were going to say? Probably not. What would you say instead? I am sure you would say something much nicer, caring, and encouraging. Say that to yourself instead, and see how it feels.
3. MAKE A LIST OF ALL YOUR GOOD QUALITIES
Because sometimes we just need a little reminder. It’s easy to lose ourselves in a world where other peoples’ lives and accomplishments are constantly in our face via social media. When compared to others, our lives often never seem good enough, our lunches never pretty enough, and our make-up never perfect enough. When we aren’t mindful of this happening, we can get stuck in this negative mindset, and it can be destructive. You deserve so much more.Take some time, as often as you can, and jot down a list of your wonderful physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional qualities (note: this is different than a gratitude list because the point is to focus only on YOU, as a person).
If you are able to think other people are so wonderful, smart and beautiful, why can’t you think the same thoughts about yourself? This is a trick question, because you can. Try writing your list today
It’s so easy, and wonderful, to love yourself. Hopefully, these three tips help put you on the path of more self-love. And, don’t forget to buy yourself flowers every now and again, just because.
Spread the self-love by sharing these tips with with your family, friends, and loved ones. The more you love yourself, the better you will be to those around you–making this world a happier, healtier place to live. Have a question on how to be healthier and happier? Readers can submit questions to Tashroudian via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #SSAskTash.