Tag Archives: self-love

#49: Happy New year, goals vs. intentions!

Hello readers, Happy 2017!  I am grateful for another year!  Like many people, I have spent some time this past week reflecting on 2016.

While reflecting, here are a few things I noticed that helped 2016 feel like a great year. I experienced lots of professional growth, including; stronger client skills, supporting the development of other therapists, more speaking engagements, and more teaching opportunities. I also experienced personal growth in openness, mindfulness and the ability to put my body and my own well-being first. (Remember this refrain from a past blog—Self-care is never Selfish!) 2016 also included more surfing and much more time spent having fun! Which is probably what I am the most pleased about. Sometimes we grown-ups can get so damned serious about life and accomplishing that we forget what all work and no play does to our bodies and souls.

While reviewing the list of intentions (not goals/resolutions) I made in January of 2016, I was gratified to see that many of my intentions were met this past year. And, even with the intentions not fully met, there was forward movement. I had heard so often that setting intentions is a powerful practice and opens up wonderful energy for moving us toward those things we intend.  The results of 2016 proved this to be so.

So my “intention” for writing this short blog today, as we end 2016, is to cheer you all on! Those who usually set a list of intentions for the New Year,  go for it!  Be bolder and more creative and courageous in your imagining and intending.  For those who don’t always set intentions, I encourage you to give it a try for 2017!  Think about what you would like more of in your life and move toward that. You will not regret it!

Perhaps it is helpful to end by clarifying my terminology. The reason why I encourage setting intentions rather than settling goals for 2017. While the term goal and intention can have similar meanings, they feel different and have a different energetic force. I have felt much better about the outcomes in the years I have set intentions, than years when I have set “goals”. That may be because goals tend to be tied to very specific outcomes, which can be disheartening or feel impossible to meet. So, I quit before I reach them. Here are a few popular New Year’s Goals/Resolutions; “I will lose 15 pounds, or, I will go the gym 4 times per week”. There is nothing wrong with these goals, and in fact, for some people this works great. They regularly set and meet specific goals. But many of us humans are not so lucky in this regard. And so, it is well known that many New Year’s resolutions/goals tend to bite the dust by mid-February.

On the other hand, an intention could be said to be less specific in it’s parameters, and thus paradoxically, more powerful overall. I.e.’ My intention for 2017 is to treat my body as a valued part of my being and care for it tenderly and lovingly’.  (Now meeting this intention could include going to the gym often and losing some weight, but it will also include giving my body plenty of food, rest, pleasure, etc). So the power of the intention for care and nurture has more compassionate-growth potential, or forward momentum/energy, than me telling my body it has to accomplish a certain outcome.ENERGY FLOWS WHERE INTENTION GOES!  (Which can tend to cause us to feel like our self-love and body love is conditional. Because let’s face it, most of us are not kind to ourselves if we do not attain a goal.)

So, thank you readers and fellow bloggers for journeying together in 2016. I am excited about 2017 and I encourage you to set your intentions for this New Year before it arrives. As always, I am eager to hear how it goes. I would love if readers would share with all of us some of your intentions for 2017. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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May your new year be full of flow and restful times!

GOING DEEPER

1.) I shared my connotations with the terms goals and intentions. What are yours?

2.) What intentions might you add to your list for 2017 that you may never have thought of or had the courage to say aloud before? What experience have you had with setting intentions in the past? What are some of the notable intentions you have set and met?

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#21: Anxiety vs. Self-love

It has been quite some time since I last posted a blog. For a time, life in its many permutations got in the way of writing. Then, I had to deal with a bit of anxiety about beginning again. But my love for sharing this information finally got stronger than my anxiety. so here I am again- practicing Blog # 11. Thank you for your patience.

The last blog discussed accepting our humanness. Today I will up-the-ante and suggest not only accepting, BUT LOVING ourselves. What is your knee-jerk response to this idea? Some readers will yawn because they have mastered this years ago, but some of us really need some movement toward Self-love. We have been taught “to love our own self” means we are selfish or even narcissistic. So let’s break it down a bit today. What does Self-Love look like practically in daily life? And, most importantly for today’s blog, what does that have to do with our anxiety levels?

Quite a lot it turns out! The amount of love you have for yourself has a huge impact on your anxiety levels. Unfortunately, so does the amount of hate/disgust or impatience you wrestle with internally.

Here is how it breaks down. Each one of us has a relationship with ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not. We either treat ourselves with love, respect and dignity, or with anger, disrespect and frustration. An easy means of discerning this, is to monitor your inner voice. Your most consistent self-talk is one of the best indicators of your level of self-love. How do you talk to yourself when you mess up, or are having a bad day? If you are kind and supportive, you probably have a good amount of self love. But, many of us pile on the criticism and disgust when we don’t measure up to our inner expectations. We view our behavior and intentions through harsh and cruel lenses, and sometimes say things internally we might not even say to our worst enemy, and certainly never to our best friends! This punitive, angry voice just amps the level of anxiety we are already experiencing, because the brain processes emotional rejection in the same area as it does with physical pain. When we get rejected from the outside, or the INSIDE, we feel unsafe, unloved and in danger!

On the other hand, a great way to show a human being s/he is secure and safe in the world, is to tangibly love them! To be kind and generous and accepting of them, even when they have a bad day. Being loved is what each one of us craves, whether we will admit it or not. When I know I am deeply loved, my anxieties and worries are pushed into the background, or even out of my awareness. If we all treated ourselves the way we treat our beloved children or our best friends, most of us would experience much more peace and happiness on a regular basis.

To give a cliff-notes explanation for why most of us have a consistent internal voice, either positive or negative- it is connected to the internalization of our early experiences. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internalization. We internalize the predominate ways and attitudes by which we were treated in childhood, and by adulthood we have made them our own. So a critical mother resides in our heads after hearing her frustration year by year. Or, a nurturing positive father “talks” positively internally when we had a bad day. The good news is that this negative internal voice can be turned into a loving and positive one with some awareness and deliberate work. Loving ourselves is a big means of changing this voice.

Try this simple experiment this week if you dare. Every morning as you get ready for the day, look at yourself in the mirror and say aloud, “I love myself period”! (Not only when I succeed or look hot.) Even when you are feeling scared or anxious, or have made a mistake, do it again. Say, ‘I love myself period’! See what happens and let me know. Though it may be hard for some, I encourage all of you to try it for a few weeks and see what a difference it makes.

Going deeper:
1.) What is your automatic reaction to the thought of Loving yourself, Period! If this is an easy concept, think about why that is. If it is a challenging or impossible one, what early experiences have you had with criticism or rejection that are influencing how you view yourself?
2.) What happens when you try this experiment? Does it get easier each day, or more difficult? What reason(s) do you come up with that you are not lovable, period? If so, ask someone who loves you if this reason is true.