Meditate and change your relationship to yourself
We all know that if we treated our friends the way we treat our self it would be a very lonely life. We beat ourselves up, withhold what we want, engage in addictive behaviors, demand perfection and ruminate. By now, you’ve read of the multitude of benefits that can be gained through meditation, but did you know it can also help you to create a more positive and compassionate relationship with yourself?
10 tips to change your relationship to yourself through meditation:
- Set realistic goals
I’m giving you permission to lower the bar. Lower it a little bit more. Begin with the idea of joyful effort. Be curious about what you will learn about the mind and its contents each time you sit. No expectations.
- Know that whenever you begin a new skill it will take time to master
Think back to childhood and a time you began a new hobby. Can you remember just showing up and being excited to see your friends. If it was dance class, remember that you started at the bar in first position. You did not do a pirouette on the first day or probably even the first year.
- Allow yourself to sit with struggle and frustration
Expect struggle and confusion and celebrate when it arises, but also notice positive changes and small victories. If an itch arises and you don’t react, that is the beginning of mastery. Celebrate!
- Expect a steep learning curve Don’t limit yourself to only doing things you are naturally good at. Embrace the unknown. Approach everything with an “I don’t know” mind.
- Embrace back sliding
You will avoid the idea of back sliding by not comparing and rating your meditations from day-to-day. Each meditation is exactly what it is supposed to be.
- Have a sense of humor
Allow yourself to laugh at the struggle. When I first began and the timer went off, I would stick my head in a bag of nacho chips and crunch away. The louder the better. Then I would laugh when I understood I was just trying to drown out my thoughts.
- Be forgiving
Restlessness, boredom and sensations will arise. When you learn to accept these arisings with compassion, your life off the cushion will begin to change.
- Be patient and kind
Sit like a loving mother taking care of her child (the mind). Greet misbehavior and mind wandering with compassion. Of course, the mind will wander.
- Be gentle
Never beat yourself up. Good for you for trying. You sat. Celebrate!
When the alarm sounds, reward yourself with a small piece of dark chocolate, a cup of tea, play with the dog or take a walk outside. You want to celebrate that you sat so the next day you will want to sit again.