In my previous two articles, I was writing about the ways in which you might be hurting yourself and neglecting your Spirit. Although it isn’t essential to read them before this one, you might want to have a peek, as this one fits in with those two rather well.
I ended the second one with these words: “Please. Be gentle with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Honour, respect and love yourself. It is what you deserve as the divine and perfect Spirit that you are.”
I’d like you to take a few moments and look at those words. Sure, they sound like great ideas. And you might take a quick scan and be thinking, “Yup, I do all of that,” or “I know, I know, I’ve heard it before and I know I should,” but whatever you’re thinking, please bear with me for a few moments and let’s take a closer look at those words.
“Be gentle with yourself.”
What does that mean? More specifically, what does that mean to you? I can’t answer that for you, of course, because I’m not you. But what I hope it means at the very least is that you don’t place unreasonable demands and expectations on yourself, and especially in times of extra stress or difficulties. I hope you don’t beat yourself up for things that are not your responsibility, or for things that you cannot change or control.
I hope you’re not eating guilt by the plateful and washing it down with pitchers of shame, especially as you are always doing the best you can do in whatever circumstances exist at any given moment. I hope it means that on days when you’re feeling emotionally battered and bruised, you wrap yourself up in cotton wool, protecting and removing yourself from situations that will only make things worse.
“Be kind to yourself.”
What does this mean to you? Are you kind to yourself? If so, how? I’m asking you to think about it because sometimes we assume that we’re treating ourselves well, but in reality, we are not doing as good a job as we thought.
And if not, why not? Please do reflect on these questions for a moment and answer before you carry on reading.
There is an endless list of ways in which you could be kind to yourself but the most important idea I want to get across to you is not “how” you do it, just that you do it. Treat yourself to something special, which doesn’t have to involve spending money (although it can). It can just mean turning off the phones and watching your favourite show while having a yummy cuppa or glassa something.
And if you’re counting calories, like so many people are, it might just mean saying to heck with it now and then and having that “forbidden delight” that would give you a little pleasure.
It can mean having some compassion for yourself, especially when you’re tired or feeling defeated. It can mean seeing yourself as a dejected little kid who could use an arm around his/her shoulders, and telling that little kid that it’s gonna be okay, or saying “you can do it” or whatever other reassuring words you might need to hear.
It can mean writing or saying affirmations to yourself, giving yourself positive messages each day, nurturing yourself as though you are parenting that little child inside you and wanting that child to feel special and to thrive.
“Honour, respect, and love yourself.”
On the surface, that may not sound like a tall order. But it is for most people, and especially if you’re going to do each of these and do them well.
It shouldn’t even be a tall order. In a perfect world, we would all live this way naturally. Unfortunately, because of what we learn from various experiences and influential people from our earliest years and into adulthood, and because of the difficulties that Life throws at us, the resulting damage can leave us with self-esteem issues. This can make us behave dishonourably, disrespectfully and unlovingly toward ourselves and to others, too.
Many people think their sense of self-esteem is pretty good. But when they’re offered compliments, they reject them or feel uncomfortable. When self-esteem and self-worth are high, we can easily accept and appreciate compliments instead of feeling unworthy and undeserving of them.
Once again, I would ask you to think about those words: “Honour, respect and love yourself.” Contemplate what they mean to you.
These words should mean that you listen to yourself, to what you need, and to how you feel. They mean that you take care of yourself, and that you truly value yourself.
They do not mean that you should always get your way. But they do mean that you should not compromise yourself or your values, especially if you are being coaxed or coerced by someone else. You should not be forced into situations that undermine your morals.
These words should mean that you are at least aware of your needs and feelings, and that you give them equal time and consideration when you’re dealing with those of someone else. They should mean that you mind your boundaries, which means knowing very well when responsibility lies with you or with someone else, and that you are assertive and stand up for yourself when necessary.
These words should mean that you understand your value and your worth as the pure and perfect Spirit that you are, and that you behave in alignment with that knowledge to the best of your ability.
If you hold this vision for yourself and keep it uppermost in your mind, you will find strength and guidance that will help to carry you forward on your journey in a way that allows you to be kind to yourself and to others.