Archives for May 2016

Self Love – What does that really mean?

By Deborah at Eat and Nourish194206-Self-Love

 

Self love is about bringing yourself back home to you, to be nurtured, embraced and cared for by you, its about losing self judgement and accepting yourself exactly as you are.
It’s about tuning in to your body and listening for what you really want.
The self is like the sun, often obscured by clouds but it’s always there, waiting for connection and compassion.

It is very easy to get so caught up in caring for others and  our busy lives, that we end up putting our selves at the bottom of our attention and care list.

For some people it may also be difficult to feel that they ‘deserve’ self love.
This feeling may be caused by events in their past, limiting beliefs, repeated patterns, or outdated stories; we keep telling ourselves that are disempowering and no longer serve us.
This can lead to beating ourselves up when we can’t seem to lose the weight or eating habit we no longer want, or we are not happy with how our body looks.
For many people this starts with endless new diets, one after the other, expecting that this new diet will solve all the problems. Well, in most cases it doesn’t really work very well, at least not in the long run.
Research shows that around 90% of diets ultimately fail.
The main reason for this is because there is so much more to weight and body image than how many calories are eaten and how much exercise is done.

Most diets leave us disappointed and disempowered. The diet ‘doesn’t work’ or the progress is too slow and we get despondent and self judgemental, telling ourselves stories about how rubbish we are at this, we do not have the willpower, there must be something wrong with us, or we give up on the whole idea and feel like we are back at square one again.

This way of thinking is essentially flawed because to make changes to ourselves in any way has to first of all come from within us, and not from myriad outside influences.
The truth is we need to get to know ourselves better, to listen to the wisdom of our body, get curious and believe that the answers are within us somewhere, often in a place that we cannot currently reach, but in there somewhere, ready to be born. This is where the good work begins.

Pleasure+healsBody image issues, weight that won’t budge despite healthy eating and exercise, numbing behaviours such as binge and compulsive eating all point to something else going on within, which our body is trying to alert us to in some way.
So a good way to look at these situations cropping up is to think of them as a doorway, that is opening up and letting us into the place where our needs, values and so much else live.
We can try as hard as we like with every new fad diet or exercise plan on this earth in a misguided attempt to reach our ‘ideal’, but without inner shifts, tapping into our wisdom, gaining new perspectives, looking deeply into what we really want and why, we keep getting thrown off the path. The path that will lead us to accepting ourselves and loving ourselves and being able to shape our lives in the way we know deep down that we want to.

Here are some first steps to self love and self acceptance:  

1.Slow down
This is one of the most essential components to realising what it is that you really ‘need’.
Slowing down allows you the space and time to tap into your inner resources and wisdom to find out what your true needs are.
Taking life at a slower pace allows you to reconnect with your self.
Action step:
Consciously slow down whilst eating, sit down and take twice as long with each bite of food and notice how it feels in your body. With this increased awareness you can begin to distinguish which foods help you to feel energetic and nourished and which makes you feel heavy and sluggish, anxious or lethargic. You will be able to more clearly pick up your body’s signal of fullness and hear the wisdom of your body.
Slow down also in your walking pace, your rate of talking and take long slow breaths.
See how this makes you feel.

2.Pleasure:
True pleasure and fun is often missing in our lives if we are disconnected with self and we often have a hard time loving ourselves.
Pleasure is an essential part of a happy and well lived life, our body yearns for it, our soul thrives on it, yet often we feel we do not deserve it.
Action step:
Take some time to remember what makes you happy, what creativity you could bring back into your life, what new skill you might want to learn. Experiment and play and make time for it, acknowledging that you are loving and caring for your self by making these choices to reconnect with what brings you real pleasure. Be compassionate.

3.Touch and sensuality:
As human beings we need touch and sensuality in our lives to feel truly alive. Look at ways you can do this for yourself as well as getting more hugs and intimacy from others.
Action step:
When you are in the shower or getting dressed, slow down the process, be present and aware of your body, your stance, your breathing, your movement and touch your skin, how does this feel? Choose your most beautiful clothes to wear.
Let the water from your shower rain down on you whilst you close your eyes and breathe slowly, note how this makes you feel within and how the water feels on your skin.
Ask your body how it feels, notice what happens inside when you touch your skin, brush your hair slowly, massage your scalp or your shoulders. What emotions and feelings does this bring up for you?Drink in and embrace these moments with your body and your self, and if negative thoughts about your body come up from your inner critic, tell it ’thank you for your comment but I choose to believe something different now’
This practice helps us begin to regain our power and to live from our deepest choices and needs.

Mirror work:
This can be another very useful introduction to getting to know and love your self and your body by introducing a loving kindness to your feelings when you look in the mirror.Be+aware+of+the+thoughts+you+think.+They+create+your+metabolic+reality
Action step:
Look in the mirror with some or no clothes on, whatever feels comfortable to start with. Breathe.
Embrace what is great about your body, or if that’s difficult, focus on one part that you already have good feelings about.
Notice what comes up, be aware and let those thoughts/feelings be there but not pulling you into the old story around them. If your inner critic pops up, acknowledge it with love and care, it may have served a purpose in the past but question what it is doing for you right now.
This is courageous work, and for some people it feels very difficult at first, keep practicing and talking to your self gently and lovingly in the mirror day by day.

Come ‘home’ to yourself:
For me this is the most important tool of all.
We spend so much time looking outwards for the answers when in reality, every time we are doing this we are ‘leaving home ‘ or leaving our self.
Our wisdom is within, not out there.
Coming home means realigning with our self, here and now in this moment and starting to understand ourselves better, what our needs are, to be our own best friend. To be present, here and now.
Action step:
Give yourself time, every day to sit alone for a short time, to breathe and connect with your inner wisdom.
You may want to journal your thoughts and feelings at the beginning of every day then look at any patterns, what keeps coming up? Start investigating with curiosity and compassion.
Be your own best friend, listen to what is going on within, what your body is telling you. Above all, be curious to what might be waiting to come out.
When a thought or feeling comes up ask “what is this?” and let it be.
Feel where in your body these feelings are coming from and, with this awareness, be curious about why it is there, what it’s trying to tell you and what it’s purpose might be. Be patient. No need to force or get frustrated, the answers will come when they are ready and you will feel a shift. A shift in perspective, a shift in energy, a shift in emotion, a shift in clarity, and you will know that you are home, in deep connection with and in deep love with yourself.

Self-Love-sandThis is where the magic happens. Having these private internal conversations with ourselves helps to get to the root of what might be behind our tendency to self judge and lead to behaviours such as over eating, binge eating and related behaviours that take us ‘away from home’ seeking answers externally, when in reality everything we ever need to know is right here inside of each and everyone of us.
When we experience this, life purpose becomes clearer, intentions become clearer, there is more energy and motivation and a calmness exudes.
Think of your self as the sun, what parts of you are not allowing you to see your sun?
From this inner awareness you can begin to create the life you have always wanted and as a by product of being in alignment, body image improves, any weight you were inadvertently holding onto seems to be easier to release and you have a renewed confidence and sense of self.

I’d like to leave you with a poem by Derek Walcott that feels beautifully aligned with this topic of self love and body image.

Love after Love
The time will come when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread.
Give back your heart to itself,
To the stranger who has loved you
all your life,
whom you ignored for another.
Who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit.
Feast on your life.

If you have enjoyed this post and would like further information about my work or to book a free discovery coaching session, please email me or message me via my Facebook page

With love,

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Meditation

Nourishing ourselves is about more than making sure we eat healthy food and exercise regularly, the mind and soul element is equally important and we often neglect this.
To experience full health and wellbeing this often ignored part of ourselves needs to be nurtured also.images

Meditation has got a lot of press in the past few years and rightly so as it is a proven method of getting in touch with our inner selves, feeling grounded, working out what really matters in our lives and taking action on that to formulate the life we really want.
Thousands of studies have echoed meditation’s therapeutic value for ourselves, the people around us and our community and world in general.

One of the big stumbling blocks with getting a meditation practice started is that we feel we don’t have the time. In our busy lives, taking precious moments out to focus on working on what we are thinking and why, the feelings and emotions we are experiencing and what loops of negativity we are getting trapped in, is not on our radar. So the situation does not change, it does not improve and month by month we get stuck in the same old habits and limiting beliefs, stuck in a neural rut.

When we haven’t got much time but still would like to benefit from centring ourselves, feeling calmer and starting to look inwards rather than outward for solutions, doing scaled-down versions of practices can really help, here are a few ways you can do that:

  • meditating for 10 minutes instead of 30 minutes
  • beginning a journal of thoughts and feelings
  • lowering expectations of what you can achieve in your day, write a list of what you want to achieve then cut it down by 50% to the absolute priorities
  • treating yourself with kindness and compassion – self love, always a good idea, but particularly important during challenging times when we tend to spiral off into old patterns of dealing with things

There are many excellent sources of different meditation practices available online, youtube and on phone and tablet apps.

Some of my current favourites are as follows:

The Headspace App is a great place to start your meditation practice, download it free on your phone and you get “Take 10” which is 10 meditation practices totally free, all very well explained and very down to earth in approach.
If you like the free meditations you can sign up and pay for the whole package and you will never be without 15 – 30 mins of guided meditation available to you wherever you are.meditation

For mediation with a spiritual element try Tara Brach, here is a link to her pdf on how to meditate
She has videos on You Tube and is also a regular teacher on the Dharma Seed App, which is a fabulous resource on Buddhist teachings, a variety of different meditation practices and an all round resource for keeping your mind calm and learning new strategies for centring and tapping into your inner wisdom.

Another great resource is Pedram Shojai, otherwise known as ‘The Urban Monk” , his new book of the same title has just come out click here for more info. it is a no fuss take on meditation especially suited to fit into busy urban lives.
Here are a few areas covered in his book:
Rejuvenating practices for health and longevity
Tools and exercises for life mastery
Techniques for discharging stuck energy
How to create a sense of calm in a chaotic world
Insights for living with an open heart and a sharp mind
Meditative practices for modern times.

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There are many other resources out there, experiment and see what works for you.

If you would like further information on meditation or are interested in the possibility of coaching and how that might help you, send me a message and we can set up a time for a free 20 min discovery session to see if we are a good fit to work together.

With love

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