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Image Licensed by Ingram Images
REVELATIONS - July 2016 - Kansas City
True Love of Yourself
By Annalisa Gramlich
“It's not your job to like me...it's MINE!” --Byron Katie
The path to loving me is one I have only started on recently. After living most of my life where all my attention, focus, and energy were directed outward, I decided to try another way of being. My view of loving myself has evolved over the last two or so years through trial and error and by helping others on their journey.
A break-up facilitated and cleared my path to self-love. Let me be more specific…the break-up of a torturous, eight-year, emotional roller coaster, on and off relationship. When I finally decided to walk away, I knew something had to change. Initially, I equated self-love with self-care. They are related, but my view was simplistic and attached to “treating” myself. Self-care is a choice that grows out of or as a result of loving oneself. You cannot incorporate or truly implement self-care without knowing, accepting, and loving yourself first. This can look like acknowledging that you exist, you have a purpose and a voice, you are important, and that the only things you can control in this life is you, your choices, your behavior, etc.
Self-care behaviors and choices can be set up and selected to support this more loving framework. For me, I believed that if I treated myself to enough good meals and spa days that I was taking care of myself. Over time, I have found that it is less about our actions and more about our internal dialogue with ourselves. I could have a wonderful day planned at the most expensive spa in town, but if my thoughts are negative, critical, and judgmental, then the day at the spa will not be enjoyed.
Listen: bringing awareness to your thoughts and your running commentary is the first step. For example, you are feeling sad about an old relationship. You begin to judge and criticize yourself, “I should be over this by now,” “Why can’t I let this go?” Take a moment here, take a deep breath, and observe the critic.
Acknowledge: acknowledge your thoughts, even the bad ones. Once you are in observer-mode you can gently notice the negative thoughts and commentary. Essentially, you are saying, “I hear you.” DO NOT try to shut down negative thinking. What you resist persists.
Curiosity and Choice: get curious and ask yourself questions such as, “Is this the most loving way to approach myself? Could I approach myself in a more loving way?”
The answer to these questions is always YES. Choose a different, more loving perspective or thought. Back to the example--after getting curious, you could choose to see feeling sad as a message to yourself and begin to investigate that. These steps may not happen all at once. In fact, I would encourage you to stay with observing your thoughts especially those about your feelings. Make notes for a few days, maybe even setting an alarm on your phone to check in with yourself. Review the notes to see patterns.
Most of us live with a vicious inner critic or judge. The problem is that this perspective can keep us stuck and living small. It is time to start replacing that voice with a more compassionate one. The amazing thing about this work is that when you are able to approach yourself more lovingly, the more you can approach other people and situations in your life this same way. By changing your inner perspective, your external reality will automatically shift to a more positive place.
Annalisa Gramlich is an education research psychologist, licensed professional counselor, and registered yoga teacher. She offers counseling, life and professional coaching, and movement therapy using yoga practices. Her philosophy is holistic and she believes it is important to examine each part of life because everything is connected when it concerns mental, emotional, and physical suffering and pain. Annalisa feels truly grateful to be doing this work and believes her purpose in this life is to assist others on their journeys to self-discovery and healing. You can reach her via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 816.916.9642