Yet even as I write these words, I have to acknowledge the fact that this is not easy to do. It is an every day practice of coming back again and again every time the stories and dramas pop up in our heads. I know for myself I can get caught up in the habitual pattern of self critical talk and hours later I remember my feet on the floor, I come back to my breath and ask myself, "woah, where did ya go there, Stephanie? Welcome back." I've spent entire days in a brain fog of "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts" and I feel the hardest part about experiencing those days now is about coming back to that self acceptance that no matter how much yoga, meditation, and healthy food I consume, I am still human and that we all go through the ups and downs on the Ferris wheel of life.
The one piece I have learned is to take away the judgment. When we judge or try and control our experience that is when tension arises and we cut off our breath trying to stop whatever emotion is arising as if it would kill us if we felt it. When or where and how did we learn that we need to keep our "composure" out in public as we grow older. Think of a child: they run around, fall down, and skin their knee. They immediately start crying and then pick themselves up a minute later and keep playing. They allow the hurt to be felt and then the feeling dissipates and they move on. When did we lose this capability to allow ourselves to feel every moment no matter what emotion is presenting itself? When did we learn that emotions weren't meant to be felt?
It comes back to acceptance. From a young age, I received messages from all around that I was not good enough just the way I am. Social media, seventeen magazine, members of the opposite sex giving me horrible advice on how to "get a guy." It all added up to: you are not good enough as is, now change to be accepted. Acceptance, I feel, is ultimately tied up with love. When we feel accepted and appreciated by our external atmosphere we feel immense amount of love for ourselves on the inside. So now as adults, how do we work on breaking these old messages and coming into deeper relationship with ourselves, finding that acceptance from ourselves internally instead of finding approval externally.
Personally, I have an image of my baby Stephanie self that sits around my belly, my root chakra, and whenever I revert back to old thoughts, patterns, habits, I hold my belly and remind myself I got me. I promise to take care of my baby self and I find acceptance that whatever is arising in the current moment is a way for me to heal what has happened to me in the past. I have learned through astrology that situations present themselves over and over again to teach us a lesson and until we are ready to receive that information, situations will keep presenting themselves to give us another chance to learn and to grow.
Every day, every moment is a moment to come back to self acceptance. I know that they say life is short, but life is also very very long. So with every breath we can say alright I can try again. Soften. Let yourself be vulnerable. I say in my own yoga classes that it is within our vulnerability lies our strength. Allow yourself to slow down and accept yourself exactly the way that you are.
P.S.: (I'm still working on it but hey writing this is a good reminder for me too)