So many women struggle with feeling comfortable in their own skin. Yet, the longest relationship that we will ever have is the one with ourselves. Really allow that to sink in. Did you? Since this is the case, why do we speak to ourselves harshly, critically, and in a tone that we wouldn't even use with our friends (let alone a stranger)?
I know you are probably wondering: "Well what's the solution? I've been with myself for a long time and habits are hard to change." The solution is deceptively simple. Loving kindness meditation. It's a meditation and also an approach to life. This practice helps you to connect to your heart space and in the process send yourself friendliness and well-wishing. It's a way for you to open your heart to connect more deeply with who you are and to show up in the world as this expanded sense of self. There is a lot of strength to show up in the world as coming from a place of kindness and compassion. As you engage in this practice, you will begin to feel greater ease in connecting with yourself. And lightness in your heart.
Loving kindness practice is a simple practice. But don't let the simplicity of this practice fool you. It consists of saying four phrases and repeating them over and over, it's a way of harnessing the energy towards ourselves and of planting seeds of kindness. Each time we say the phrase we are inclining our mind and heart towards deep friendliness towards ourselves.
The meditation is simple, the hard part is committing to it everyday for 10 minutes. Maybe your thinking "I don't have time" but we all have 10 minutes to spare. Those 10 minutes that your browsing Facebook (wait, it's longer than that isn't it?) you can use that time to sit down and meditate. Had a long day at work and can't wait to watch your favorite TV shows? Before turning on the remote, take a moment to say the loving kindness phrases which I'll be sharing with you later in this post.
The greatest gift that you can give yourself is spending a few minutes sending yourself loving kindness. You are showing yourself that you care about your well-being. Even sitting down to meditate for just 1 minute is an act of self-love.
I am here to share with you this beautiful and simple loving kindness meditation practice, which has been researched to have many benefits such as decreased anger and anxiety, decreased self-critical thoughts, decreased chronic pain, increased positive mood, increased life satisfaction, and increased social connectedness (and this is just naming a few!). All of this is backed up by research!
The beauty of this practice is that it's portable. You can take it on and off the cushion.
Ready to learn this simple practice?
I'm a loving kindness Meditation Teacher and have worked with 100s of women guiding them how to cultivate kindness and compassion towards themselves.
Are you willing to try this practice for a few days? Can you give yourself five minutes of loving kindness? You will feel a softness within as you keeping practicing.
Place your hands over your heart space and say to yourself silently or aloud:
May I be safe,
May I be happy,
May I be healthy,
May I live with ease.
Say it four times in a soft and gentle tone.
Now gently direct your attention to the part of yourself that feels disconnected and say to yourself silently or aloud "May that part be filled with loving kindness" (say this four times) and then say "May my whole body be filled with loving kindness" (say this four times).
And then end the meditation practice by gently saying to yourself "May I be safe, May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I live with ease."
Throughout the day continue sending yourself these loving kindness phrases. For instance:
- when your walking (maybe you have a dog that you walk regularly -- that's a wonderful time to connect to yourself and send your dog the loving kindness phrases too)
- when your driving (how many times have you gotten so frustrated by traffic? We all have. Again, perfect time to say the phrases. You will feel so much better.)
- your tired and have to go grocery shopping and then there's a long line at the check-out counter -- say those loving kindness phrases.
Essentially, you can send yourself loving kindness anytime. That's the beauty of the practice.
Over time, doing this loving kindness practice regularly, you will start to notice that you are treating yourself with greater kindness and in the process feel greater ease within your own skin.
Want to begin the process of feeling greater ease within yourself? Download my free six-minute loving kindness Meditation here: www.sitachopra.com.
What was your experience sending yourself the loving kindness phrases?
Share it in the comments. I would love to hear about your experiences.
Sita Chopra, Ph.D. (ABD), H.H.C., is a Lovingkindness Meditation Teacher, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Neuroscientist, and Transformational Life Coach.