February 2017 | Love Yourself, Be Yourself, Give Yourself


Sometimes the hardest person in the world to love is the person staring back at you in the mirror, and often that's the person who needs your love the most. The part of us that needs to change is the part we keep beating on, but that's the part that needs love IN ORDER to change. Sometimes loving yourself means learning to laugh at your mistakes, rest your body when it's tired, to not lose your temper and end up losing valuable life force, to surround yourself with people and places where joy and peace overcome stress. Life is an adventure; you should be there for you each step of the way!  Sometimes love is strict, and sometimes it offers compassion, comfort and strength.

Truth be told, much unhappiness has come into the world because of the lack of self love, a lack of love for others and a general bewilderment towards miscommunication.
We know this. We know misunderstandings can tear us apart. We know healthier communication leads to healthier relationships. However, knowing something doesn't mean we take action. I've been sitting with this and contemplating that mysterious grey area between what we want to do, our intention...and actually DOING it. What happens in the in-between space?

Is it that we forget? Is it that something else becomes more important?
We forget to make time for ourselves and each other.
We forget to be present with ourselves and each other.
We forget to really listen. And we forget to be SINCERE and honest.
Day after day, we collectively misunderstand each other into hundreds of unnecessary headaches and heartbreaking mistakes.
And, like you, I’m only human – I still miscommunicate and misunderstand people, especially when I’m in a hurry.  Honestly, a combination of excessive busyness and poor communication leads to unnecessary conflicts.

So what's the solution? Give yourself space and time when possible. Give others space and time when possible. Here is a simple strategy I use to support the practice of paying better attention to the people in my life:  In summary, I proactively remind myself of the truths I already know but often forget.  Anytime I catch myself avoiding a conversation, feeling misunderstood or conflicted, I pause and read the following mantras to myself (I have them stored in the Notes on my iPhone now).  Then I find the time and space to tune in to this person with full presence…

1. One of the biggest problems in communication is the idea or belief that it has already happened.
2. Too often we don’t listen to understand – we listen to reply.  Don’t do this.  Focus.  Be curious.  When we listen with genuine curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply – we listen for what’s truly behind the words.
3. When you hear only what you want to hear, you’re not really listening.  Listen to what you don’t want to hear too.  That’s how we grow stronger, together.
4. You never know what someone has been through today.  So don’t be lazy and make empty judgments about them or their situation.  Be kind.  Be teachable. Be a good friend.  Be a good neighbor.  Be a good listener.
5. Sometimes all a person needs is an empathetic ear – they just need to know someone else hears them.  Simply offering a listening ear and a kind heart for their suffering can be incredibly healing. 
6. Do not make assumptions unless you undoubtedly know the whole story.  If in doubt, ask the person directly until you have clarity.
7. When you take the time to actually listen, with humility and sincerity, to what people have to say, it’s amazing what you can learn.  Especially if the people who are doing the talking also happen to be the people you love

What does it mean to have sincere conversations? To be honest? Sincerity is the basic foundation for having a strong, cultivated heart. But what does it mean? My understanding is that it means we neither underestimate nor overestimate ourselves.  We don't shrink or inflate ourselves, but try to communicate exactly between the two sides. This would be the truth. And in order to do that we must know what that middle road, what that truth, actually is. This takes a calm, open, humble, honest, diligent and present mind and spirit.

Your turn - let me know how are things are going! I'd love to know if these tips are helpful and if you see positive changes in your relationship with yourself and others. Hope to see you soon!

With Peace,