With our Yoga is for Lovers Challenge this year we spent some time examining our the love we give and to whom we give it too.
We focused on Self Love, Loving Relationships, and Global or Community Love.
I absolutely loved being able to dive in a little deeper in to how I approach these relationships and experiences.
I am a big journal-er in my daily life, so to help us all find a broader understanding I offered up prompts for each category and encouraged participates to take some time with each question. Weather they wanted to meditate, journal, use them as dinner discussion, or simply ponder them during their commute was up to them.
To help spread the love a little further, I’m going to add them here and to our Yoga is For Lovers Page so that you can come back to them whenever you need a little help sorting out your brain and heart, or whenever you need a little reminder of how much love you have to offer this world in all kinds of ways!
I truly believe that your relationship with your own heart, body, and mind is the most important relationship of our lives.
Everyone needs love, and you probably focus a lot of energy on loving other people — from friends to spouses to children. But where does your love come from? You might expect it to come from the people in your life you care so much about, but you can’t control those people and you can wind up disappointed if you rely only on external sources for love.
What if there was a way to fuel your life with the love you needed and not have to rely on other people to do it? That’s where self-love comes in. Not only is it important to love yourself to fill in those gaps other people may leave, but self-love can actually provide health benefits.
The Benefits of Self-love
Aside from just making you feel good, self-love can benefit your life in many ways, too:
- Greater Life Satisfaction. Greater life satisfaction is associated with people who practice self-love. Appreciating yourself helps you appreciate your life. When you hold yourself in high esteem and know you are fulfilling your purpose in life, you tend to have more enjoyment and a more positive attitude toward the future.
- Motivation for Healthy Habits. Self-love can motivate you to adopt healthy habits and take care of your physical self. It doesn’t mean you don’t see room for improvement, it just means you care enough to value all of the parts of you. You express your love for yourself by doing things that make you look and feel your best.
- Better Mental Health. Mental health issues are more likely to resolve quickly — or less likely to develop altogether— for people who love themselves. Self-love can keep you from getting lost in your own head and going down a path toward negative thoughts and feelings. People who find themselves struggling with addiction or other mental health issues often need to develop a stronger positive relationship with themselves, and find that self-love can help lead them out of their disorders.
- Reduction in Stress and Increase in Performance. Self-love reduces stress, lessens procrastination and reduces performance anxiety around deadlines. Without those last minute doubts about yourself, you can complete projects with all of your energy, rather than wasting some on procrastination and setting yourself up for failure.
- Better Able to Deal With Adversity. People who practice self-love rebound from adversity faster than those who wallow in self-loathing. You can’t control what life throws at you, but you can manage your own response. People who feel good about themselves handle life crises better and move on to the good times faster.
How to Love Yourself More
Recognizing the value of self-love is the first step to improving your quality of life. Adding more self-love to your life is the next thing you need to accomplish. Here are some tips to help you:
- Define Your Own Beauty. Don’t wait until you lose weight or get the perfect hairstyle to love yourself. You can love yourself now by changing your focus on what’s important. Start with one small feature and decide to love that part of you first. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it’s uniquely you. You may decide to love your feet because they have carried you through life in heels and sneakers. They take a lot of abuse, but they continue to hold you up. Or, you might love your eyes because they have that unique coloration and sparkle you identify with.
- Change Your Self-Talk. The little voice inside your head that can drag you down when you make a mistake must be changed. You probably wouldn’t talk that way to someone you love, so why say it to yourself? Replace that negative self-talk with something positive and up-lifting. When you make a mistake, try an encouraging phrase like, “It’s ok! I’ll just try again.”
- Pamper Yourself. When your feet get wet in the rain, go home and put on dry socks. Be more aware of your physical condition and do things to comfort yourself. Wait for the water to get warm before washing your hands. When you’re tired after a long day at work, sit down and take a break before making dinner or doing other chores rather than just pushing through. These are small ways you let yourself know that your comfort and well-being are important.
The word relationship can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. You might have a specific image or emotion jump to mind as soon as you hear it, but today I’d like us to take a broader view of the word and the many relationships we have in our lives.
We are not just focusing on romantic relationships or partnerships, but instead I’d like you to consider all the important relationships in your life. This can be with family members, friends, colleagues, ect.
Take a moment to appreciate each and every one of those relationships for the gifts they bring to your life and maybe allow your self to ponder on how you can help those in your life feel a little more cared for, supported, or respected.
Is there an area in your life or a relationship that feels lacking or neglected or maybe causes you stress or anxiety? What can you do to make this relationship better for you moving forward? (As hard as it is, keep in mind that the answer might be to let it go.)
If you like, give your self some time today to either journal or meditate on the questions above. You might be surprised by what you discover about yourself and your loved ones.
Need a little inspiration on how to express love in any and all of your relationships?
Here are some really great jumping off points for you to get started!
Express gratitude. Tell someone how much you appreciate their presence in your life.
Set aside time to give the gift of listening. Make a date if you must, in your own home or at a quiet little neighborhood place, for coffee or a drink and just listen to each other’s thoughts.
Keep anger at bay. During stressful times think of this image. If an ember flies from a fireplace onto your rug, it will burn a hole. Flick it off immediately and the rug is safe.
Be thoughtfully generous with gifts. Remember what is special about a person in your life and buy gifts that are unique to them.
Offer an act of kindness. Say to your love or someone you care about, “What can I do for you today that will make your life easier and less stressful?” Then do it.
Write a note and send it via the U.S. Mail. Here’s a simple start: “I am so grateful that you are in my life. I love you for a million reasons. Here are the top three.”
Make time to be together for events that bring you both pleasure.
Be forgiving. We all have quirks. When one surfaces that makes you want to scream, either gently say something or switch to the positive-quality channel.
We all belong to communities in some way shape or form – both on and offline. Have you ever stopped to think about why you love your community? And what different communities around you do you feel like you are a part of?
The word community has so many meanings!
1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
“the scientific community”
2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals
3. a group of interdependent organisms of different species growing or living together in a specified habitat.
For me, I consider most of the communities I belong to to be groups of passionate people with a purpose who have joined together in a common mission. This can be your school, your work, your neighborhood, an online group, your church, any where at all that you fell connected to those around you in some way. I love that in today’s world we have the opportunity to be a part of so many communities near and far.
When thinking about the connections you’ve built with your many communities and those you consider members, remember these 10 truths of a healthy relationship to keep your community feeling loved and appreciated.
- Remember to say “Thank you.” People generally enjoy saying or doing nice things for others, and tend to do it without expecting to be thanked for it. However, we all know how great it makes us feel when we are recognized for our efforts. When your community says something nice about you, it’s always a wonderful idea to say “thank you.”
- Celebrate their successes. This is the age-old principle of thinking of others before yourself. If you do so, then you will probably notice the great things members of your community are accomplishing. Congratulate them and share their successes with others whenever you can.
- Be a good listener. This is probably some advice we all received at least once from a parent in our lives. Like Stephen R. Covey points out in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Great relationships are also built on the idea of give and then, perhaps, get. Invest in your community by listening and understanding their needs.
- Ask for their opinion. There probably isn’t a person alive who doesn’t like being asked for their opinion. Collaboration on a project almost always produces a better end result. Social media has given brands an amazingly simple and effective way to engage with those who have thoughts and ideas about them and their products and services. Remember to ask your community for its opinion.
- Don’t forget about the little things. Sometimes it is the smallest of gestures that can mean the most to someone. Focusing on the little things that matter can show a person that they are indeed worth your time. When approaching relationships from a long-term frame of mind, it is very possible to make the time along the way for those important details without getting overwhelmed by the idea. Look out for the little touches to help each community member.
- Be patient. In any relationship, making things work means working through the occasional misunderstanding or frustration with one another. Life is not supposed to be simple; if it were, it wouldn’t be all that exciting. It’s important that you take a step back and look at every challenge from the other’s point of view. Your patience and willingness to try to understand will be appreciated. Be known for your abundant patience and caring approach with your community.
- Admit your mistakes. Nobody is perfect, and holding onto your pride will never do you any favors. When you invest in building relationships within your community, members get to know you better and feel more connected to you. You will make errors but, while members may be disappointed, your community generally has the ability and willingness to forgive. Be quick to admit your mistakes and be genuine in asking for forgiveness.
- Share a common passion. Finding a common passion, something you all enjoy doing and talking about, creates the strongest bonds. If you are passionate about what you do, then no doubt there are others out there that feel the same way you do. Find them, invite them to your community, and enjoy learning and sharing together.
- Show respect and gain trust. The strongest relationships are built on mutual respect and trust. But getting to that point should ideally start with you. Be willing to respect the views of your community even though you may not entirely agree with them. Community members have reasons for their views and it is up to you to understand, or at least accept, them. And, when making commitments to your community, make sure you meet or exceed their expectations. Being willing to compromise, or give and take, will help you demonstrate respect and earn a community’s trust.
- Celebrate Valentine’s Day every day. Giving your community a Valentine once a year is definitely a nice gesture, but finding ways to show them how much you love them on a regular basis should be what you strive for.
I want you all to always always come back to these as a reference and a gauge when ever you might need them!
And get ready for next week’s round up!