We live in a busy society. Gadgets that may have been designed to simplify our lives keep us plugged in, multi-tasking, and working more than ever. Many of us (myself included) like to think we are making something of ourselves, of our lives. We ask the big questions: what are we contributing to? How are we successful? What are we achieving?
The start of a new year is a popular time to roll out new resolutions to improve ourselves and our lives. We have our goals set. We are enthusiastic…but then, what happens? So often, we put so much pressure on ourselves and we get lost in all the busy-ness of achieving those goals that we get tired out. And soon enough we are back with our old habits and life circumstances until next December rolls around and we think: “Aha, this is going to be the year I ….”.
I want you to know that I believe in change. I think change is a good thing. We are not designed to be stagnant and bored. We are meant to grow and reinvent ourselves once in a while. The question is, really, in what style do we go about in making positive change happen in our lives.
As an achiever and somewhat of a people pleaser, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to be the “perfect mom” or “perfect teacher” or you name it, I’ve done a number on myself about it. What I find is this pattern of behavior puts an awful lot of stress and anxiety on myself. As far as making real change in my life, if I try too hard or push too much to make things happen- it doesn’t work out. The things I wanted to accomplish do not materialize. I end up feeling frustrated and actually tell myself I have failed. I may also end up feeling burned out, lose some sleep, and just give up.
The times in my life where I have succeeded at creating positive change or just generally being a happier and more peaceful person are times when I did not put so much pressure on myself. I eased up. I still had my goals but I did not get too concerned about the details. I had faith that once I made my mind up about something, it WOULD WORK OUT.
This month’s Yoga Journal has a wonderful article about cultivating self love. The four main points are: to love ourselves enough to know that we deserve to be happy and healthy, have compassion for ourselves and release any stress we are putting on ourselves about a habit we have that we want to change, have joy and gratitude for all the good we are doing in our lives and the support we are blessed with from others, and lastly- equanimity; which means to forgive ourselves for any perceived setbacks and instead of being upset- focus on our larger goals of being happy, healthy, and free from suffering.
So now to the title of this post: being soft, gentle, and easy: nurturing ourselves in a hectic world
Here are my ideas this evening to do just that:
- Celebrate any little successes of your day.
- Be thankful. I highly recommend a gratitude journal
- Slow down
- Know what you want, put your intention out there, and then HAVE FAITH. We don’t have to know all of the little details about how things will happen. Just know what you want and release it. Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret describes this process well.
- Enjoy and be aware of the little things: the smile on your kids’ faces today when they were showing you what they made at school today, the sounds and smells you notice while walking around your neighborhood, the beautiful music on your radio during your ride to or from work, all of the support you’ve been getting lately from family, friends, or colleagues.
- Think of what you love.
- Just know and feel with certainty all the good that is you. Don’t stress. Don’t push. Don’t rush. Don’t force. Just be…..isn’t that incredibly liberating?