End of a long week for you? Maybe a few late nights, for a variety of reasons? As we discussed earlier this week, ‘tis the season for draining your tank all the way to empty, only to judge yourself in the morning for how much is still on your plate to do, or maybe more literally, how little you failed to leave on your plate/in your glass. Hey, that’s your judgment, not mine. I’m all about balance, and of course, self-compassion…
If you felt a little rough around the edges this morning, you’ll be relieved to know that our “no-fail” mindfulness challenge for this weekend is about backing up the judgment truck and going a little easier on yourself. Full disclosure: I can’t help with your to-do list, but it is possible that when you take a minute or two to catch your breath, you may decide that some of what you “have” to do isn’t really so mission-critical after all. Your call.
We start with a little inhale, and some exhale, as we usually do. Set aside just a few minutes (I know, you don’t have any!! But you do, you really do…). Take a seat, take a walk, just don’t take your list, or your phone, and catch your breath. Focus on where you are, and what your body and your breath feel like right now. Focus your attention on those inhales and exhales for just a minute or two, and with each exhale, try to release some of the tension that all those “I have to”s may have been allowing you to accumulate in your shoulders, your neck, your jaw, your forehead. As the cartoon princess loves to say, let it go, at least for now.
But wait, there’s more! Once you’ve had the chance to slow your pounding, overachieving heart for a hot second, you get to do something fun. Think of someone you love. Bring their image to mind, and actually picture them in front of you. Think about how you would feel if they felt they had let you down, if they were judging themselves for not over-delivering on every single thing, if they were feeling bad about themselves for not being perfect. Feel like you just wanna hug it out with them? Tell them that it’s ok, and perfection has nothing to do with the 100 reasons why you love them? It’s a great feeling, to be able to offer that comfort and reassurance to someone else, isn’t it?
Now, for your next trick, swap out the mental image. Gently ask that loved one to step aside, and picture yourself looking in a mirror. I know you don’t want to, but look at that face! It’s a great one. Now, see if you can grasp that same open-heartened, compassionate warm-and-fuzziness you had just a minute ago for that other person, and direct it towards yourself. You don’t need to do it all, know it all and be it all to be worthy of love. Even more, magical though it may be to feel that generosity of spirit coming from someone else, know that you are fully capable of generating it for yourself as well.
You know what they say – you have to love yourself before you can really be open to being loved by anyone else. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It’s tougher than it seems, but this weekend, you’re going to give it the ol’ MBA try. Anyone who needs you to be perfect doesn’t really love you, and that my friend, includes you.
Take it easy, and find some time this weekend to let in the festivity, the joy, and the love that is all around, and within, you.