Find a quiet spot to focus & consider the below questions, notice what initially comes up & where in your body you feel any tension arise or if you feel release ...
What is your relationship to your self like?
Honestly, do you like the way you treat & talk to yourself on a daily basis?
Do you give yourself enough time to understand your own needs & wants?
Do you trust your own opinion & instinct of what you should do to move forward in situations?
Do you know how to comfort & soothe yourself when the world feels heavy & you’ve had a hard day?
Do you know what triggers you & what emotions or story lines may be on repeat in the back of your mind?
Have you ever had a sit down conversation with yourself to understand the ways in which you are falling short caring & supporting this very special person?
It seems we have no problem pouring our energy into other people's lives and ideas... our partner, friends, family, coworkers, community, children, our business. We learn what upsets the people we're closest to and how we can best offer our support. We memorize how to make others smile, and we spend time nurturing relationships and working hard to get ahead.
Why do we lose our touch then when it comes to our relationship with ourselves? Any gap of free time that could be spent on an expedition inward we fill by accepting invitations to activities we're indifferent to and now with the invention of social media we spend hours mindlessly watching other people live, scrolling through curated photos & videos.
There is no doubt that the relationship with ourself is the longest & most important relationship we will ever have. It is also the foundation from which every other relationship is formed. The way you view & understand yourself is how you show up for others. The best way to improve EVERY relationship with another is to make sure you feel 100% secure & happy with your deepest self. This is truly a great responsibility that most people do not understand.
Being in a solid relationship with yourself will relieve the pressure in all of your relationships to others - there is no need for anyone else to fulfill or fix something within you. Instead you can show up fully and present, ready to extend your entire awareness & heart to another, while feeling secure & supported within yourself. You can make your decisions & actions from a place of clarity, fullness & knowing, instead of falling into the same unsupportive patterns or repeatedly seeking outside validation or advice.
Step 1: Forgive
The best part about mending & caring for our relationship with ourself is that it isn’t going anywhere. You can start any time & the best time is right now. Step one, forgive yourself for not doing this work sooner. Forgive yourself for not listening to your body & soul when they tried to speak up in the past. Forgive yourself for putting your wellbeing or happiness in the hands of anyone outside of yourself. Forgive yourself for looking for validation & answers in every other place than right within your own being. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself again and again. As you continue to do this work there will be times where you will mess up, you won't consult yourself, you won’t listen to yourself, you won’t do whats best for yourself. Forgive yourself, again.
There are many ways to practice forgiveness, but one of the most powerful ways in which I have learned to forgive (not only myself, but also others) is to repeat the Hawaiian forgiveness prayer Ho’oponopono. It is a simple practice of repeating the following prayer: I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you.
Say these 4 simple phrases to yourself repeatedly until you feel a shift in your body. Allow it to move & change your energy, allow it to bring up what needs to be brought up.
Step 2: Commit
Just like every relationship, there are ways in which you can understand yourself better; by having conversations, asking questions and spending quality time with yourself. You can practice self inquiry at any moment by pausing and asking yourself what you think about a situation. Sometimes this process is easier by putting pen to paper & free writing, other times meditation & silence helps. My best conversations with myself really do come from the bathtub or shower.
This is a personal practice, so practice all the ways in which you can talk to yourself, see what you like best and try to come back to it day in and day out. Allow it to be a time where you can be honest with yourself about what you truly desire, what you need to feel full, supported, listened to & held.
Step 3: Support
At the beginning of this article you were asked - Do you know how to comfort & soothe yourself when the world feels heavy & you’ve had a hard day? This is a very important question because things are going to come up in your life that appear to push you down or knock you off your balance. When you are in that place it may be hard to understand what truly comforts you; instead you may reach for something that isn’t in your best interest, provides you with a sense of guilt once its over, or feeds a bad habit. (i.e. drugs, alcohol, meaningless sex, binge eating, over spending, over exercising etc.) Establishing some ways in which you can truly care for yourself now will help you to make an easy & more supportive decision in the future. It may help to even save a personal list to your phone that you can reference and come back to when you feel lost.
11 Possible Ways To Care For Yourself + Self-Soothe
Below are 11 ideas that you can pull from to help you better connect, understand, soothe & comfort yourself. Notice which ones jump out to you & make a commitment to yourself to try new ones out!
Do understand that everyone is so different, what is suggested to support one person, may be feeding another person's bad habit. Ask yourself if it would be a supportive activity.
1. Observe Silence. Never underestimate the power of a 5-minute timeout to recenter and recalibrate. When we are constantly moving throughout our days, we are essentially bathing in other people's energy. Taking 5 minutes to simply shake off all emotions, thoughts, fears and other energy that does not belong to us is one of the best ways to keep our well-being at the forefront of our mind.
2. Exercise. Emotion = energy in motion. And when we're upset, excited, angry, anxious... energy needs to MOVE. Go on a walk, practice yoga, dance, jump up and down, take a hardcore kickboxing class. Learn how to observe what is present inside you and how you can move and shift it rather allowing it to take up residence in your body.
3. Take A Bath Or Shower. We've all experienced a life-changing bathing moment, where we come out a different and much more clear, healthy version of ourselves. A hot bath or shower is shown to calm anxiety by increasing oxytocin levels and helping to rid the body of toxins and foreign substance. Next time you are bathing, pay attention to each part of your body as you wash it, and express gratitude for its health. Or simply practice deep breathing, notice how your body floats as you inhale & sinks as you exhale. Letting go more with each breath out.
4. Connect With Nature. Put your feet in the dirt or sand, climb a tree, go on a hike, anything in the great outdoors. This may seem simple, but sometimes the simplest option is the best one. Go home to your Mother!
5. Practice Mantra. We talk to ourselves a lot. Like, all day every day for our entire lives. Notice what you say to yourself. Are you nice? What kind of labels and limitations have you subconsciously placed on yourself over the years? Are you open to rewiring your subconscious mind so that its self-perpetuating habits are more positive? Create a simple mantra that will keep you on track and repeat it to yourself whenever external forces try to take your peace.
6. Cook For Yourself. Taking the time to cook a meal for yourself is one of the deepest acts of self love in my book. It might feel weird at first, but preparing nourishing food to sustain your life force energy is a big sign to your body and mind that "I see you, and I hear what you need, and I'm taking care of you."
7. Journal. Every evening take 5 minutes to download anything about your day. Think of it as taking out the trash. Process whatever rubbed you the wrong way and express gratitude for the experiences and people who brought you joy. As you continue this practice you will automatically begin to see and understand your triggers and habits with much more clarity.
8. Open Your Mind To New Ideas. Get lost in a book, hit play on a podcast or recorded talk by someone you admire. It doesn't even have to be self help related, anything that can put your mind at ease & open it up to think about something else.
9. Go On A Solo Trip. The best way to get to know yourself is on a solo trip. Even if its just a road trip to a nearby town. Watch how you connect with strangers and make your way through another culture, and you will feel more connected and confident in yourself than ever before.
10. Receive Body Work. True healers know how to receive. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Take time to allow others to care for you, in whatever way you need. Massage, acupuncture, sound healing. Invest in your well being!
11. Try Something New. Get up and take yourself out on a date. Change your surroundings. Go do something you've never done before. Go to a new cafe, hike a new trail, take a class that's way out of your comfort zone; find a way to break inertia and watch life force energy come surging in new ways.
If there are any activities or techniques we have left out above that help you connect back to yourself, please share them below!