Quite a few years ago I was helping my parents set up their new home. My ballerina music boxes were packed with a warning label to “Handle with Care.” As I unpacked my delicate childhood relics I did what the label suggested. I took care. I moved slower, paused to admire their beauty and spent time winding each one to hear its unique music and watch it twirl. I delighted in my trip down memory lane and thanked each music box for adding a special quality to my life.
During this hour of reverence to the things of beauty that surrounded me during my early years I started to wonder, “When was the last time I handled myself this way? How often do I slow down to take note of my appreciable qualities? How often do I have reverence for me?”
After all we are precious, valuable products in this world. We are not so different then the delicate things of beauty we surround ourselves with. But so often we get lost in self-judgment, daily upsets and roadblocks to unlocking our true potential.
For example, and on a personal note, I push myself. Hard. I am an over achiever and perfectionist of magnitude. It’s not that my drive is a bad quality. Throughout my life it has served me well. It has allowed me to rise to the top of my class in graduate school, excel at fast-paced hospital jobs, achieve multiple accreditations in alternative healing modalities, write a best-selling book, and to start my own international business.
But there was a missing ingredient in all this success. I found myself reaching goals but always with a sense of dissatisfaction. My self-care was secondary to my drive to achieve. My inner dialogue was harsh. I was constantly comparing myself to others. I didn’t take time to care for my body. I put work above the play that makes life fun and the respite that would naturally recharge my batteries.
If this sounds familiar, take heart, you are not alone. The more people I work with in my life coaching practice the more I see these patterns. It is a bigger conversation then just how we as individuals live. It’s an awareness of how this world is wired and how this reality runs. Go, go, go. Push, push, push. Self-care and being gentle with yourself aren’t topics that are taught, talked about or valued.
I’d like to change that.
When I began noticing this pushy pattern I started to seek out other possibilities. I wondered how I could awaken the ability to handle myself with care in each moment, just as the label on my music boxes suggested.
What I have found through my seeking is that there are missing elements to the way we in which we handle ourselves – acknowledgement, gratitude and receiving. If we add these 3 key ingredients to our life more care, happiness and energy abound. Below are some tips and information on how:
How often do you acknowledge the gift that you are to yourself, those in your life and to the world? Often times we are taught that building ourselves up this way is conceited or boastful. That simply isn’t true. We all benefit from someone who is acknowledging their gifts. They don’t play small. They create greater change in the world by not comparing themselves to others. Instead they forge a unique path for themselves. They are happier and that happiness spreads to everyone that crosses their path.
When acknowledgement is added to your life you begin to see yourself as a valuable and beautiful element in the world. How are beautiful and valuable things handled? With care. You will begin to treat yourself gentler and invite those in your life to follow suit. Take note of your appreciable qualities. Next time you are comparing yourself to others, feeling like you don’t measure up, stop the harsh self-talk by acknowledging yourself.
Gratitude is a game changer. If you have a tendency towards self-judgment, then this is a key element to add to your life. Gratitude and judgment are opposing energies and cancel each other out. They cannot co-exist in your space. If you are judging yourself then you are out of gratitude and vice versa.
How can you use this for change? Become aware of when you are judging yourself. When that occurs stop and think of one thing you are grateful for. Immediately your space should lighten.
Receiving is rarely talked about and if it is it’s usually only in esoteric ways that are difficult to grasp. I like to think of receiving as the way the trees soak up the elements. Whether it is sunny or raining the trees are present, they don’t judge and they receive whatever is gifted for further creation. If the tree only receives the sun, then it dies from dehydration. If it only receives the rain, then it dies without it’s food source of photosynthesis. There is no judgment of the sun being better than the rain or vice versa. It seizes the opportunity to receive and use it all. In fact it’s survival and health depends on it.
If you can receive yourself, and all that comes your way, with no judgment the ability to employ self-care is more readily available. Our judgment of what is good or bad to receive has us constantly filtering the world. It’s a waste of energy and a missed opportunity for creative ease.
Once we acknowledge, have gratitude for and receive ourselves the space of reverence opens. With that comes the desire and ability to handle oneself with care. When we live from this space a world of our own choosing is created easily.
Take care of you. You are worth it.
Lauren Polly, author of The Other Side of Bipolar, shares her own journey to help others find the life they desire without limitations. Lauren Polly is a catalyst for people who are living their life on autopilot; she helps others shift from surviving to thriving through dynamic healing, self-empowerment, and life-changing tools in her cutting-edge classes and 1:1 coaching. She hosts a weekly radio show called, Beyond Speech, Limitless Communication, and is a Certified Access Consciousness® Facilitator, Certified Talk to the Entities® Facilitator, ASHA Certified Medical Speech-Language Pathologist, and is a registered Yoga Instructor. Lauren has shown thousands of people around the world how to engage boldly with themselves, their body, and the world to create the life they desire. @LPollyLifeCoach