Most of us invest a fair amount of energy on how we engage with others, but give a lot less thought to how we engage with ourselves. Why is that? If we can’t make the time to take care of, nurture and give attention to ourselves in loving, kind ways, we’re a lot less likely to move through our lives in a manner that’s joyful.
I’ve often been much harder on myself than I am on anyone else. I don’t make allowances for my humanness, the way I do with others. I sometimes have unrealistic expectations that jump up and wreak havoc in my mind. In spite of my sincere desire to live intentionally—in a way that’s full of peace—if I’m honest, I’m often so judgmental about myself.
Yoga is something I’ve practiced off and on in my life. I’ve never been especially competent or incredibly flexible (see the judgment there?), but I definitely appreciate the value of this ancient practice. Yamas (in one of the eight branches of yoga) are rules of social engagement—guidelines for “right” living. What if we adopt the three Yamas below as ways to build self-care and self-love into our lives?
Ahimsa is non-violence. Everything we do or think should be borne out of a place of love for everyone and everything. Violence, be it mental, emotional or physical, can be directed toward others and ourselves. Compassion and kindness are the antidotes for violence. Can you imagine how different our world would be if violence were eradicated? Can you imagine how different your world would be if you showered yourself with compassion and kindness?
Satya is truthfulness. With this code we aspire to live and talk with truth. What’s important to remember is that this is very different from blurting out everything you’re thinking, without considering the impact. In truthfulness we must always be aware of not saying something that would hurt another person. That applies to us too. Let’s not mentally or verbally “beat ourselves up”. Let’s focus on what, truthfully, makes us awesome.
Asteya is non-stealing/honesty. We don’t take what we shouldn’t, or what’s not freely given to us. Sometimes we steal time from ourselves by filling our days with so much to do, that we never actually enjoy what we’re doing. We rob ourselves of the right to be who we are, by constantly seeking an impossible perfection. We take from ourselves the joy of being in the moment. What if we choose to be honest with ourselves and add wonder, laughter and self-respect to our lives instead of taking it away?
In “You Are Special”, by Max Lucado, Punchinello believed he wasn’t a “good wooden person.” He had been given so many bad “marks” by all the other wooden people, that he didn’t feel he had any value. It wasn’t until he met Eli, the woodworker who carved him, that Punchinello believed he was special. It wasn’t until he allowed himself to be touched by the hand of God, that he could love himself.
Living in a more enlightened place isn’t necessarily easy. Rethinking the way you treat yourself—how you choose to engage with yourself may be difficult at first, especially if you’ve never considered yourself “worth it”. Like Punchinello, you are worth it. We all are.
©2016 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living