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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Jonathan Mead » The Art of Self Loving; a Puja to Yourself

Self Love; a Puja to Yourself

In my past I’ve had a lot of failed relationships. I was never able to understand why these relationships failed until I took a closer look at myself. I realized that I was seeking approval and love from my partner, before I found it within myself. I was looking for something from someone else that only I could give myself. The more I realized the importance of finding validation within me, I begin to take steps to love myself more fully. Flaws and all.

If we don’t have an adequate amount of self love, we’ll likely search for it somewhere outside ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with seeking love from others. Seeking ourselves, or our sense of self-worth in that love, is the problem.

Love must first come from within. No matter how much others praise, love or admire us, unless we feel that way on the inside, we’ll end up rejecting their love. If we don’t love ourselves, it’s hard for us to imagine how anyone else can love us.

How can we cultivate love within us? Just as we show our loved ones regular acts of love, we too need to show ourselves loving actions.

In India, they have a practice called a puja. A puja is a devotion to the gods. It can be an offering of food, incense, flowers, or a prayer, anything that can be interpreted as a sign of love. We can also use a puja or act of devotion, to show ourselves love. Remember, love is a verb.

Here are some suggestions for making a puja to yourself:

1. Go on a self-date.

Spend some time alone with yourself. Don’t think about what you need to do the next day or the cleaning up you need to do around the house. Just be fully in the moment and enjoy yourself.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take yourself out to a movie. Be adventurous and pick a movie you wouldn’t normally see. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy the change of pace.
  • Go to lunch at your favorite restaurant, sit and people watch.
  • Go to a local caf� and bring a good book with you. Enjoy a cup of chai or tea and just relax.

2. Journal.

  • Write a gratitude journal entry. List all of the things you’re grateful for in your life. Try going beyond the obvious thing such as your job, your house and your car. Are you grateful for your breath, existence, love, the sun, your mistakes?
  • Let go. Take a moment to list all the mistakes you’ve made and forgive yourself for them. What are some of the things others have done to wrong you? List them and forgive them.
  • Achievements and success. What are some of your greatest achievements? What are you most proud of in your life? We have a tendency to focus more on our shortcomings then our success. It’s important that we recognize our achievements and celebrate our success.

3. Do something special for someone else. This may sound opposite to all the other advice here, but we often feel the best about ourselves when we do something selflessly for others.

4. Go for a drive, blare your music. Simple, yet wonderful.

5. Buy yourself a trinket. Or an ice cream cone, or an ice cream cone trinket. The focus isn’t on spending money, it’s about doing something special for yourself.

6. Get outside. Go for a long walk or bike ride to a nearby caf� or just around your neighborhood. This is my personal favorite, it helps me clear my head and gain perspective in my life. I also like to go for presence walks, where the only thing I’m focused on is the present moment. You’ll think you’ve never seen a flower before.

6. Turn off the lights and light some candles, burn some incense if you’re inclined. Drink a glass of wine, coffee, or tea, read a good book, or watch a good movie. Look at old photographs and reminisce.

7. Sing to your plants. Just kidding (or am I?)

8. Give yourself the spa treatment. We don’t have to go to the spa to find relaxation; we can create it in our own home. Here are a few examples:

  • Aroma therapy. Take a ceramic cup and pour some hot water in it. Now put 2-3 drops of essential oil such as peppermint, lavender or jasmine in your water. Put a tower over your head, forget everything and just breathe.
  • Take a mini-vacation. Close your eyes and imagine yourself anywhere you’d like to be in the world. Imagine the most calming relaxing place. Go online and use pictures if it helps you. The point is to bring yourself into a state of relaxation.

I hope you enjoy these simple suggestions for making a puja to yourself.

What do you do to show yourself love?

Jonathan Mead » The Art of Self Loving; a Puja to Yourself
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