When you look in the mirror what do you see? Sometimes I see circles under my eyes. Sometimes I see bloat from last night's pizza (yep- I eat pizza!). Sometimes I see a whole lotta thigh. Rarely when I look in the mirror am I like, "damn that's a fine looking lady in there!" But why don't I? I suspect I am not alone in this.
There are probably a lot of contributing factors, and I do not want to diminish them - but I will focus on two reasons for the purpose of today's note. The first is comparison. A natural human tendency that has been magnified by the omnipresence of social media. We spend our days longing for what other people have- their banging bodies, their DREAM weddings, their perfect husbands, adorable babies, charming houses, fancy cars, and exotic honeymoons. We spend a huge bulk of time assessing other people's lot in life and comparing ours to theirs. This isn't to say that we dwell on it or it takes over how we live our lives (sometimes yes, sometimes no) but regardless it happens on the daily. Sometimes we know we are doing it, other times it is operating in the background - but still happening.
The second reason is judgement. Comparison feeds judgement. Example, so-and-so buys a beautiful new home – "But who would want to live there? It's the middle of nowhere!" Someone posts a selfie - it's attention seeking and/or desperate. Someone cuts you off on the highway - they are an a**hole. Immediately we affirm our own choices and lifestyle, building our own ego at the sacrifice of tearing down someone else. We judge other people and ourselves ALL of the time for EVERYTHING. And that includes what we see when we look in the mirror.
And it's exhausting.
And it doesn't serve us.
And in fact, it has a negative effect on the way we view ourselves and others. We need to knock it off.
Less judgement, and more love.
We need to love ourselves. Seriously, love every part of ourselves. We need to cut out the negative self talk. We are KWEENS ladies! And stunning rays of light filled with love. We are pure magic. When we acknowledge this, it helps us to see that in everyone else.
Today is #internationalyogaday, and with it, comes a challenge. Love yourself and then love others. That's our mission. But how to shift our mindsets? It's a big task, so let's break it down.
Step 1. Acknowledgement
Sit with a journal and a cup of (insert beverage of choice) and do some self reflection. When do you tend to compare yourself to others? Is it comparing that bling on your finger to your friend's? Does it happen when you look in the mirror and you think about the Instagram model you follow? When do you tend to judge? Does it manifest in road rage? Again, is it social media? Your favorite Bravo TV stars?
Just take the time to think about how comparing and judging show up in your life. If after reflection you truly do not compare or judge, please teach a class and invite me!
Step 2. Forgiveness
The next step is to forgive yourself and forgive others for being this way. We have to absolve ourselves from this. These habits are ingrained from childhood and perpetuated by the culture we live in. Let's not beat ourselves up over being judgmental. That defeats the purpose of this whole exercise.
Step 3: Radical acts of self care
How did we get to self care? Well, what is at the heart of comparison? I believe it's our own feelings of inadequacy. Showing yourself some care is the foundation of self love. Do something for yourself every day. Take time for yourself. Whatever that means for you. By caring for ourselves, we nurture self love. It helps us to live more comfortably in our own skin- which helps us to love others better, too.
Self care is not selfish.
I repeat, SELF CARE IS NOT SELFISH. When you are feeling drained and out of gas - it is really easy to get into negative self talk patterns. Beyond that, it also hinders our ability to serve others. So take the time to refuel. It is so important for your mental and physical health. Don't know where to start? Take a break from wedding planning and try some of the suggestions below:
Spend quality time with loved ones.
Buy a coffee for a homeless person.
Take a bath.
Laugh. Really hard.
Watch trashy tv, or whatever gives you joy.
Bask in the sun.
Dance by yourself.
Get a mani/pedi.
Do nothing - guilt free.
Do something you have wanted to do for a long time, but never had the time.
Go for a walk in nature.
Read a book.
Take a nap.
Exercise (in a way that sparks joy!).
Call a friend.
Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you are beautiful.
Take a social media/technology hiatus.
Eat a hearty nutritious meal.
Eat whatever you want, and without judgement
Step 4: Judgement Detox
Now that we have acknowledged our habits, forgiven ourselves for them, and have built up our self love... it's now time to take a break from the judging. This is really, really hard - because it is ingrained so deep. And it's not always showing up the way you would think. For example, today I was trying to back into my garage, and a neighbor had left what I think was an air conditioning unit outside their door, which prevented me from getting in my usual way. I was so annoyed. I was thinking about how inconsiderate that action was. Why didn't they move it to the side? Was this a handy person or was it the neighbor? Someone doesn't know the protocol... Judgement after judgement after judgement. And then I stopped myself. I realized, it was highly unlikely that they even realized it inconvenienced anyone. THEN I realized, I manage to get into my spot, just fine. I spent 2 minutes thinking they were horrible people, and realized I worked myself up over absolutely nothing.
And this story isn't rare. I'm sure I do this 10x a day.
Your mission, should you choose to accept, is to spend one day completely judgement free. Only loving thoughts towards yourself and others for just one day. That doesn't mean the judgements won't arise, but do your best to quash them when they come. AND double whammy, when they come up- don't judge yourself for having the thoughts!
The world we live in is full of judgements. By giving ourselves some self care, and by choosing to judge less, we will love ourselves and others more! Yoga reminds me to have a beginner's mind, love and accept myself where I am at, and to love others unconditionally. I hope that through reading this post and doing this exercise, it helps you do the same.
Are you going to participate in the self care and judgement detox challenges? I would love to hear if you participate and how it went! Use #shedselfcare and #shedjudgementdetox so I can see! -AHS