Leading Yourself Starts with Loving Yourself
Many of you know I'm leading a course starting January 1st called, "Be the Leader of Your Life," so naturally, I've been in inquiry around what it looks like to lead myself, in all areas of my life. This week, I've been looking at how I'm seeing myself. What are the things I say to myself in moments of frustration? Joy? Anger? It's been really eye opening, if I'm honest. I was living with a fairly large blindspot. I've known I say negative things to myself, and I even know what I say. What I wasn't seeing was what I say in certain situations.
Depending on whether I deem the situation as good or bad or hard or easy or whatever... my thoughts change. This might seem obvious, and I'd encourage you to really look for yourself. When you are in a situation where anger comes up for you, what do you tell yourself? How do you feel about being angry? Is it ok in your world or something to be avoided? What about a situation where you've done something you see as wrong? What does your mind tell you then? That you're no good? Worthless? shouldn't have tried anyway?
I've learned with my thinking, you all, the more specific I can get, the better.
If I just say, "Oh my thoughts are negative," and I don't investigate any further, they won't go anywhere. I won't be able to see or hear, "oh, there I go, saying I'm worthless," and then be able to shift that thought. It's like someone telling you to just "think positive." What does that even mean? It's not measurable. "Tell yourself 'I love you'," is MUCH more measurable. I can look at the end of the day and say I did or didn't do it.
What does thinking have to do with self love? I'd argue it has EVERYTHING to do with it.
You've all heard the phrases. "Our thoughts make our world" "our thoughts create reality" "every thought we are thinking is creating our future," etc. I can tell you from experience I've seen these in my life this week. When I'm telling myself I'm worthless because I got angry at my dog for not listening, It's easy carry that with me into my day and before I know it, if I'm not careful, I've become a worthless human being all day for a variety of different reasons. This week, as I've been in the practice of catching myself in those thoughts that are not helpful, not serving me, and changing the narrative, I've directly seen the difference in my being. When I am speaking kindly to myself, "Good job. I'm so proud of you. Way to be persistent," etc, I am in the experience of lightness and ease and clear headedness in my body. When I am not speaking kindly to myself, "You wouldn't have been able to do it anyway, what a stupid idea, you're a bad dog mom," etc, I am in the experience of closed-offness and heaviness and dis-ease in my body.
Loving myself this week, looked like choosing to take control of my thinking (as best I could). It looked like choosing to observe my thoughts, choosing to shift them, and choosing thoughts more in line with creating the experience I want in life. This is self-leadership. I may not always be able to control the external circumstances.
I can ALWAYS control how I respond, how I show up and what I'm choosing to put my attention on.
My question for you all is: What does self-love look like for you right now? It could be nourishing your body with homemade meals. Giving yourself the gift of an afternoon nap. Giving yourself a break when you've been pushing really hard. Then consider: How could that self-love showing up as leadership? Consider that in loving yourself and listening and making changes that are in line with YOU and what you want and what you are up to in the world... you are strengthening your leadership muscle. You are strengthening your ability to show up fully and whole-y.
If you're unsure of where to start this week, if you feel stuck or disheartened or alone... start with self love. Take the practice of self love on as a practice of self leadership. You could ask yourself this simple question each morning and journal on it: What is required of me to love myself today? Listen for a number. Then fill in each space.
You matter in this world. You really do. I want you to hear it. Most importantly, I want you to KNOW it. So be in the practice of self love this week as a way of reminding yourself that you matter. I'll be here right alongside you.