How has 2018 been for you so far? For me January felt like a challenging start to the year. I had a lot of things on my to do list yet I wasn’t able to get through them as quickly as I would have liked. I would say that it was because there were things that needed to get done that I didn’t feel confident in completing such as making changes to my website (if you’re a WordPress expert feel free to get in touch with me!) and various other similar type of activities. But in addition to this I also fell ill with the flu which made it difficult to get anything done.
In addition to this I was also dealing with some after effects that had arisen from a course that I had completed in December. It felt difficult trying to get through anything on my to do list and this combined with my lack of confidence in my IT skills caused me to feel quite a bit of frustration. I’m the type of person who likes to be active and ticking things off on my list and feeling like I’m making some sort of progress. And when this doesn’t happen I start to feel anxious that I’m falling behind in my schedule and worry about the consequences of this.
It was tempting to try to fight against this and to force myself to work on the tasks that I had set for myself. In fact, generally, it’s easier for me to force myself to keep going and essentially carry on with my activities than to not act at all. However time has taught me that trying to force yourself to do things is usually going against what you need at the time. Often things feel more difficult and like you’re wading through mud versus the times when you’re in the flow and everything feels rather easy.
So I decided to listen to that inner voice that was telling me to slow down and that I wasn’t going to end up last in some imaginary race just because my timing was delayed slightly. Funnily enough it helped that I was ill as I really didn’t have a lot of energy in reserve! Instead of the usual activity, I rested and became more aware of my thoughts and feelings. And interestingly when I really surrendered to the process and just noticed what was happening within me, my thoughts and emotions somehow lost their sting or charge. Usually we try to avoid feeling our feelings and thinking certain things because they give rise to uncomfortable feelings/sensations. But if you can let go of being attached to these emotions and thoughts they simply flow in and out of your consciousness.
It becomes an activity in which you simply observe what is happening within you and accept what is happening in the moment even though it may not feel good. Because in fact, our feelings and thoughts are neither good or bad but through conditioning (family, societal etc) we have learnt to judge them. This then causes us to judge ourselves and we get caught up in liking certain parts of us and pushing away parts that we don’t like. We then end up judging others on this basis and projecting our thoughts and beliefs onto them. It’s not a surprise that we have so much conflict when we’re not accepting ourselves nor those around us.
Self acceptance is a big topic and I’ve really only touched on it here. It’s not something that happens overnight (well not for a lot of us anyway!) and requires a regular practice to ensure we’re connecting with that loving and accepting side of ourselves. Through regular meditation I have had the opportunity to experience this process and it has helped me significantly in my life.
If the idea of moving towards self acceptance interests you, then give this activity a try. For a week, block out 5-10 minutes a day where you won’t be interrupted. During this time, observe what is happening in your body, any emotions and thoughts and any thing else you may be experiencing. Notice your desires to change what is coming up or to push away any thoughts or feelings etc. Just notice and observe what you can whilst acknowledging that everything is accepted just as it is. If you’re finding yourself feeling challenged, that is for example irritable, anxious, wanting to move etc, I have found that the best thing to do is to breathe deeply and become conscious of your breath. Whilst your mind might want to go back to the past or into the future, breathing will bring you back to the present moment and this is where you will find peace. If you can get used to breathing more consciously you may be surprised at how much more relaxed you start to feel.
I would suggest keeping this as a regular activity in your diary/schedule. I know life is busy but I find that often times we keep busy to avoid connecting with ourselves and discovering something we may not want to. When we can start to accept ourselves just as we are even those parts which don’t seem acceptable we start to develop a great relationship with ourselves and not surprisingly with others. I would love to hear how you get on with this and if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with me.