There are many, many messages prevalent in our culture about giving freely, generously, maybe even so much so that it hurts. Hell, I have a weekly yoga class that is freely given—a practice of generosity for myself and others. While I think this message is beautiful and can be the right medicine at the right time, it’s quite possible (and probable actually), that we give until we are depleted, exhausted, and it throws us off course.
Of course life isn’t about being perfect, or even perfectly in balance all the time, but we need to look at ways we neglect ourselves. This is very practical as well as spiritual. The practical aspect is this: If you’re running around taking care of everyone else, it doesn’t feel good and it’s not sustainable. At one point or another it will catch up to us. The spiritual aspect is this: Loving yourself and caring for yourself sets the foundation for spiritual growth and development. If you’re exhausted, malnourished, or cranky because you have too much on your plate, spiritual growth is going to take the back seat in your life.
So how do we reconcile the needs of others and the needs of ourselves? That is a lifelong question to explore—my practice is to be with it all; the needs of others and my personal needs and make the best decision I can at the time.
Here are some ways self love can express itself. But don’t let this list hold you back!
-preparing nourishing meals for yourself
-listening to the wisdom and needs of the body
-giving yourself permission to say “no” when something feels out of alignment (or you just don’t want to do it)
-giving yourself permission to rest
-nourishing your creative spirit (in whatever way that means for you!)
-spending money on something that brings you delight and joy
-leaving the party early (introverts will get this one!)
-turning off the phone
-restrain yourself from situations, habits, and consumables that don’t serve
What are your favorite ways you care for mind, body, and spirit?! Share in the comments!