The previous three posts were all about your relationship to yourself both on a physical and on an emotional level. Acceptance, appreciation and love for yourself cannot be bypassed on the journey of becoming radiant and shining your light. And when you do have that acceptance, appreciation and love, it’ll already have an aura for sure, with an air of harmony and content and maybe even joy. It is something that people notice.
Have you ever had the experience of attracting more people (of the opposite sex as well) when you’re in a well functioning relationship? It’s most likely, at least partly, because then you’ll see yourself as lovable and worthy and content and that’s the air that you’ll be emanating.
Other aspects of self-love
The way I see it from my experience as a Karma Killer Yoga instructor, it is rather a condition of it, but not the whole thing. And there may be differences even in how we think of, how we define self-love.
Here I brought you another article of Psychology Today. Comparing it with the energetic point of view of Anamé Program you’ll find that depending on the approach, what we mean by self-love can differ.
Self-love means finding peace within ourselves — resting comfortably within the depths of our being. We might find temporary respite by doing something to nurture ourselves. But a deeper inner peace requires cultivating a certain way of being with ourselves — a warm and nurturing attitude toward what we experience inside.
The suggestions that follow are derived from Focusing, developed by Dr. Eugene Gendlin. Sometimes called the Focusing Attitude, this is simply a way of being nonjudgmentally kind, present, and mindful toward whatever we happen to be experiencing.
Here’s the first one.
Being Gentle with Ourselves
It’s often easier to be kind and gentle toward others than toward ourselves. Judgmental voices from the past may have left a hidden residue of toxic shame, which blocks us from honoring or even noticing what we’re really feeling.
Being gentle with ourselves means being kind and friendly toward the feelings that arise within us. It is very human to feel sad, hurt, and afraid sometimes. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to become mindful of these feelings and allow a friendly space for them.
When clients notice difficult feelings, I may ask, “Is it okay to be with that feeling right now? Can you be with it in a gentle, caring way?” I might also help them find some distance from painful feelings so that they are not so overwhelming.
An attitude of gentleness toward our feelings is one way to have more spaciousness around them. We can “be with” our emotions rather than be overwhelmed by them.
Psychotherapist Laury Rappaport offers some gentle inquiries into our feelings in her book, Focusing-Oriented Art Therapy:
Can you be friendly with that (felt sense)? Can you say hello to that (felt sense) inside? Imagine sitting down next to it. Can you keep it company much the way you would keep a vulnerable child company? This gentle way of being with ourselves is an antidote to shame. Rather than battling ourselves or trying to fix or change ourselves, we find more inner peace by simply being with our experience as it unfolds.
Being gentle is a good thing. What’s even better is being able to decide when to be gentle and allowing and when to be strict with ourselves. What do I mean by that?
A weekday evening. You’ve worked a lot, until late in the evening, planning to go to bed early. Your partner is out, picking up some stuff. You’re expecting him sometime between 8 and 9. Half past 9, he hasn’t arrived. You go and take a shower, being sure he’ll be at home by the time you finish. Surprise, he isn’t. 10 o’clock, you text him ‘miss u. When r u coming?’ A voice message comes saying he’ll be home in half an hour. And a second one asking you to cook some rice.
It doesn’t feel good. You feel somewhat neglected: he didn’t give a notice, and didn’t think that you may want to go to bed early. You begin to think it’d probably be different half a year / three years / ten years ago, fearing that he doesn’t love you / care about you that much. There you go. Feeling hurt and afraid.
The important question is: does it help if you just let yourself be with those feelings? There’s a thin line between giving space to your feelings and letting yourself be sautéed in their energy.
This is where Karma Killer Yoga has helped me beyond measure. To this day, it helps me decide where an emotion (or thought, as they are closely related) is coming from: a place of love and the sense of connectedness or just the opposite, from a place that cuts me off of these. Whenever I identify the second type, I try to make sure that I don’t sit with that feeling. Instead, after a short time of perception I say goodbye to it. As if I said: “I know you. I know where you’re coming from and the life that you’d sentence me to. Thank you for accompanying me to this point, but now I’m strong enough to say no, and to make my own choice. And I choose love over fear”.
And now the second of the suggestions.
Allowing Our Experience to Be as It Is
When I invite clients to notice their feelings, they sometimes reply, “Why would I want to feel that?” I explain that when we push feelings away, they often come roaring back. Or they get acted out in ways that are destructive to ourselves or others, such as by drinking alcohol or through other ways of numbing ourselves or transferring our pain to others through raging or blaming.
Loving ourselves means experiencing our feelings just as they are. Oftentimes, we try to push away unpleasant experiences and cling to pleasant ones. But as Buddhist psychology suggests, we create more suffering for ourselves by clinging to pleasant things and having an aversion toward painful feelings.
A subtle sense of fear and shame may prevent us from allowing our experience to have its life inside us. For example, if we feel (or show) sadness, hurt, or anxiety, we might think we’re weak. Or perhaps we were given messages that it’s not okay to feel; we’re afraid that others might judge us.
We live in a culture where hard feelings like grief and sadness are often seen as something to manage rather than to live through or flow through.
At my aunt’s funeral there was a moment when the family stood around the open coffin and my mom suddenly broke into tears. She wouldn’t simply cry; she gave herself completely over to the pain of losing her sister, sobbing loudly and uncontrollably. I stood right beside her and felt how healing it was, the pain of the moment and the way my mom got immersed in it. Then someone else from the family touched her back and then my arm, whispering in my ear to help my mom collect herself. It was a gesture of pure good will: my mom used to have panic attacks and the person just wanted to prevent such an event. And she may have been right. But still, I just felt the truth of my mom’s collapse in grief and tears and didn’t feel the urge to “do something”.
Again, this is something that I have Karma Killer Yoga to say thanks to, that I can be more connected to myself and others and stand still in the truth of a situation, instead of operating from coded behavior and automatic actions.
So here we are at the third suggestion.
Embracing the Wisdom of Not-Knowing
If we’re honest with ourselves, we might notice that we’re often not clear about what we’re feeling. Our feelings are often vague and fuzzy. If we can allow ourselves to pause and make room for ambiguity and patiently welcome and explore our blurry, vague feelings, they may gradually come into clearer focus (thus the term “Focusing”).
For example, we might notice anger toward a partner, but something deeper might lurk beneath. We’re aware of the tip of the iceberg, but to see what lies beneath, we need to look more closely.
Our society values knowledge and decisiveness. But often we’re unclear about what we’re really experiencing. Politicians who don’t mouth strong opinions about everything often are seen as wishy-washy. It actually takes strength and wisdom to say, “I’m not sure about that. Let me think about it.”
Human feelings are gifts to be welcomed. But we need to find a way to be with them so that they become allies, not enemies. Emotions such as grief allow us to release pain so that we might move forward in our lives. Other feelings may be more fuzzy, such as a clutching in the stomach or tightness around the chest. As we bring an attitude of gentleness toward it, we might begin to have a sense of how it relates to something important — perhaps how we’re not honoring ourselves or being afraid of looking foolish.
Feelings often contain wise messages, if we can only decipher what they’re trying to tell us in the best way they know how. If we can cultivate a warm and friendly attitude toward our feelings, they’re more likely to become friendly allies on our life journey. New meanings, insights, and openings arise and our lives move forward in a more fulfilling way.
In my opinion, attributing too much significance to our feelings can divert us from living our true self just as much as oppressing them. For instance, if you’re often anxious or afraid, and you just sit with them, trying to analyze where the feelings come from, you can quite easily come to false conclusions, which won’t help a bit. And the more time you spend deciphering their message the more you tie yourself to them. Feelings are rarely for analyzing and more for experiencing – as far as I can see.
Looking at the articles I’ve brought you so far, and many others written in this topic one question keeps banging in my head: why does it have to be so damn difficult? I don’t have a definite answer to this question. But I believe that it’s because we are looking at the blocks rather than what’s behind them. To me, Karma Killer Yoga helps to see more the possibility of victory than the difficulty of the hardship and I work every day to help others see their victories behind the difficulties of their blocks.
Is self-love enough in itself for you to become radiant and shine your light?
Once you ask, I don’t think so.😉 In the previous post I’ve shown some aspects of this topic reflected in the different chakras. But there is one that’s connected here, to crown them all. And that’s the crown chakra, the “place” of unity. Because at the end of the day, true shine is about so much more than being on good terms with ourselves.
So what does it mean to shine?
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. —Philippians 2:14-16
In the Gospel of John, Jesus is called “the true light, which gives light to everyone” (John 1:9). Throughout the New Testament, the followers of Jesus are called to be lights in the darkness.
Billygraham.org, talks about the topic as follows:
Being counter-cultural. We live in a dark world, full of lies, hate and confusion. But God’s Word tells us to “cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12). While others are chasing after physical pleasures and selfish gain, we’re commanded to live a different way—to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14).
Does it mean that finding pleasure in physical things like eating or sex is bad? I don’t think so. To me it means that you have to decide where your focus is. What do you vote for? For the temporal or the eternal?
None of us can avoid answering this question: even if we don’t have the slightest interest in it, we’ll give an answer with our actions and how we live our everyday lives.
So what do YOU vote for in YOUR life? Are you working to buy more stuff or with the intention of reaching your highest potential? To nourish your ego or your divine self?
Jesus’ message then, to me, is not one of bitter rejection, much more about being conscious about which part of us we want to nourish.
Putting yourself out there. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others” (Matthew 5:16a). He explained that no one lights a lamp just to hide it under a basket. A lamp is meant to be placed on a stand to give light to everything around it. Whether you’re timid or outgoing, you’re called to be a light to the people around you. That’s only possible if you’re taking time to interact with people and cultivate relationships.
If we accept the idea that we’re here for a reason, we can be sure that it’ll come with a task, including individual as well as collective elements. Energetically, crown chakra is the one responsible for the knowledge of “we are all one”. That’s the area to make sure that besides our personal development, our life and the task that we’ve undertaken is for all of us. Our gifts, our skills, our values are like common treasures, and the more we treat them as such and “show our light”, the better we’ll feel.
Always pointing back to the light source. When Jesus said, “Let your light shine before others,” that wasn’t the whole sentence. He went on to give the reason why it’s important to shine: “so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16b). Our goal should never be to bring recognition to ourselves, but to bring glory to God. There’s a fine line between being a light and putting on a show to get attention. It’s a matter of the heart.
And while doing so, while showing our light, the eternal will shine through our being. This is the highest possible manifestation of a human being, and also the state where true radiance is born.