The wandering mind. What a scary place this can be. Jumping from thought to thought, stewing up worry and obsession. Most of all, forgetting to treat yourself with the same kindness you show others.
We take ourselves for granted so easily. What could be done better next time for anyone else, is a sin for us to to not get right the first time. We bash our conscious mind for perfection, and tell ourselves that we must not be good enough when we realize we aren’t perfect.
Why are we so damn hard on ourselves, yet compassionate toward everyone else? Even those that do not practice mindful compassion, still exercise it from time-to-time. For example, if a small child accidentally breaks something, most would not scald the child, but instead explain that it is fixable. Everything is fixable, and so is our attitude toward ourselves. So let’s fix it.
The next time you have a moment of self-doubt try to catch it as it happens. Do not judge what is happening, just simply acknowledge that you are acting in a way that is self-deprecating. You aren’t being as nice to yourself as you would to someone else.
I’m the worst offender.
Whether you are experiencing a single negative thought or a whirling effect of many, continue to follow the next few steps.
Now that you’ve brought awareness, see where you feel it the most in your body. For example, have your shoulders tensed up? Is your belly constricting tightly? Does your low-back hurt? Maybe your breathing changed? Perhaps your heart feels heavy. Any clues you can get, go with it.
Next, bring your attention to your breath. Take a deep breath in and imagine the fresh, brand new air traveling to the area of tension.
As you exhale imagine that you are sending away any self deprecating stress. Imagine that the purity of the inhaled breath has purified your body …and the exhaled breath bathes the sensations you feel with white, glowing, light. Take as long as you need with this breath work and visualization. Every time you practice this exercise it will be different.
Finally, you may find it helpful to send yourself loving thoughts. We do this through compassion. One way of doing this is to put someone else in your shoes and imagine what you might say to them. Of course, if your mind is still uneasy, you may struggle with finding kind words, even if it were for someone else. Go back to the beginning of the exercise and ask yourself what in my body and mind, needs to be heard right now? Do this until you are able to send yourself the same compassionate thoughts as you would someone else. Become the lover of your life, by simply listening, breathing, and being.
Choose someone whom you are unbiased toward or don’t choose a person at all. A spouse isn’t always the best person since they can push our buttons the best. Instead think of someone you would never want to see upset. Think of your dog, cat, bird, goldfish, child, niece/nephew, maybe even the cheery woman who serves your coffee at Starbucks, or a flower, river, your favorite meal (anything which feels truly good to you) ….Think outside the box. I’ve laughed at some of the things I come up with, even R2D2 has been there. How ridiculous would it be to yell at a robot shaped like a fancy trash can? Laughing at R2D2 or whoever you find in your visualizing is acceptable and welcomed.
I use this meditative visualization as often as I need to.
It cost nothing, isn’t a pill, and can shift your brain activity in such a way, that you might have a better day just minutes later. It’s better to try this, and have it not work, than go hours on end with the same deprecating thought/s.
Want to know to know a secret? It’s never not worked for me, it works every time.
Photo found at: http://www.toxel.com