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As you may know if you’ve been checking out this site for a while, I’m a coach. Before you ask for which sport, not that kind of coach. I work with people in the business school world to help them navigate decisions, assess options, and put their best foot forward in securing and assessing the “champagne problems” that include those decisions and options in the first place. I advise them on thinking through their goals, presenting their experience in meaningful ways, and sharing their “story” in a manner that is both authentic and compelling. It’s a tough balance to strike, but one that when you do, everything that comes as a result tends to be both of those things as well, at least to you.
For this weekend’s “no-fail” mindfulness challenge, it’s what you see through your eyes that matters most. It kind of always is though…when you think about it.
You’ve probably heard that saying that “like attracts like.” If you want to secure opportunities that truly resonate with you, then you need to make sure you actually resonate with the version of yourself you’re putting out there. This doesn’t just mean putting on a good show, it means engaging in a manner that is intentional and thoughtful (i.e., you’re showing you care), but also an honest representation of yourself (i.e. you actually do). The first step, though, is learning to value that authentic “self” enough to believe it deserves to be on display.
Shifting your focus in this way, especially when it involves your aspirations (aka, making offers happen) takes some practice. Your mindfulness challenge for this weekend involves exactly that. So, lace up your mindfulness kicks, and let’s get started.
Most of us aren’t very accustomed to being deliberately kind to ourselves. We’re really good at self-judgment and tough love, but for kindness, we usually rely on others whom we trust. We’ll readily offer that kindness back to them, though. So, for this challenge, that’s where we’ll start.
A “metta” meditation”, or “loving kindness” meditation is one where you deliberately send good vibes to someone else. That’s where we’re kicking things off today, with a little twist at the end to keep things interesting.
- Start by closing your eyes, and picturing someone you love. It can be a friend, family member, a pet…your call.
- Next, try to connect with the goodwill or love you feel for that person (or furry creature). Notice how that emotion feels in your body. Maybe you feel lighter, or your heart feels warm.
- Observe any thoughts that may arise as you bring the image of this loved one to mind. Maybe there are memories, or plans, or just images that you see of the person, doing something or simply being.
- As you picture this person, begin to imagine actually sending the goodwill or love you feel for them, that you are now fully connected to through your awareness of it, to them. You may even wish to put words to your good thoughts for them: “May you be healthy, may you be peaceful, may you be happy,” repeating a few times internally as you send your goodwill towards them. Picture them being able to accept this from you, perhaps even sensing the happiness they may feel in receiving it, as well as how you feel in being able to offer it to them.
- Next, picture that person offering the same goodwill or love back to you, perhaps even sharing the same words back: “May you be healthy, may you be peaceful, may you be happy.” Imagine your heart being open, and being able to receive this love from them without judgment or need to analyze it. It’s just love, and it doesn’t require anything back from you.
- Finally, once you have connected with the sensation of receiving love from the person that you love, reflect on the exchange that has taken place. You have been both able to give and receive love without complications, judgments or expectations. So, for your final layer to this week’s challenge…
- Send this love to yourself. Picture yourself looking into a mental mirror, and repeat internally: “May I be healthy, may I be peaceful, may I be happy.” It may seem strange, but if you are capable of sending goodwill to others, and maybe even receiving it yourself from them, then you are capable of being both the source and the receiver at the same time.
Trust me…I know it’s different, it may feel uncomfortable, it may even take work, BUT it is exactly the practice your mind needs to develop the ability to honor your expectations for yourself over those you may think others have for you.
Challenges aren’t supposed to be easy, and frankly, loving yourself isn’t always easy, either. But it is the greatest gift you can give yourself, and will make you a greater gift to those whose love you are lucky enough to receive as well.