I am so excited to post my newsletter (28th September 2020) on my Blog.
I share on Monday morning by newsletter the self-love/self-care practice I am focusing on for the coming week plus the themes & insights from my various weekly workshops.
As this is my very first ‘Relationship Wellbeing’ newsletter, I’ll share a little of my own journey to date.
I originally studied business and worked in training and recruitment for a number of years. Many of the training programmes I presented focused on developing communication & interpersonal skills and healthier relationships in the workplace.
Then I paused working outside of home when I became a mum.
Four kids later (now teens/young adults) I signed up for a 10-week ‘Reparenting’ course which ultimately led to my return to college where I completed the 4-year ‘Relationship Studies’ programme in UCC.
On the very first day of the course, I was asked …
– ‘HOW IS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MYSELF?’ and
– DO I LOVE MYSELF?’.
These two questions completely threw me!
My thoughts whirred around in my head as I wondered ‘Do I love myself?’ and ‘Can I have a relationship with myself? and ‘Is that even a ‘thing’!?’. My attempt to answer these questions in front of the class felt, I remember, both excruciating and embarrassing as I stuttered and stumbled over my answers.
I have since learned that the relationship I have with myself is the most important relationship in my whole life.
I am in relationship with myself every moment of every day. I am always relating with myself through my thoughts, my words, my feelings & my actions, when in company and when alone, from the moment I wake in the morning to the moment I fall asleep and even then, in my dreams.
I have learned that however I am with myself determines how I am with every single person I meet. When I’m feeling well-rested and joyful, cared for and loved by myself, I meet everyone from a place of love, kindness and compassion. When I’m feeling tired and stressed, irritated and overwhelmed, I meet everyone from a place of irritation, impatience and annoyance.
It was a life-changing four years of study for me. It was also a rollercoaster of uncovering parts of myself I had long hidden, and discovering the various masks and labels I had created or accepted for myself.
I am still learning more about myself every single day, as I am still very much on my own self-loving journey and hopefully always will be.
So this week, I invite you to join me in practising the very first self-love exercise I was introduced to on day 1 of my ‘Relationship Studies’ programme …ie SELF-OBSERVATION, which is simply paying attention to your thoughts about yourself, and the words you speak to yourself and to others about yourself.
The purpose of practising SELF-OBSERVATION is to simply begin to notice, bringing awareness to the relationship we have with ourselves, without judging or trying to change anything, simply becoming conscious of how we are with ourselves.
Notice, upon waking and throughout the day and evening, are the words you choose to say to yourself kind, loving, encouraging words or are they words full of judgement, criticism and disappointment?
Is how you speak with yourself that of a best friend or a worst friend?
An essential ingredient in this practise of SELF-OBSERVATION is KINDNESS, CURIOSITY & COMPASSION with ourselves. We want to practice observing ourselves without judgment and without criticism as we become aware of the relationship we have with ourselves.
So let’s self-observe together with kindness, curiosity and compassion.
I at first found this practise of self-observation astonishing. I had had no idea how harshly I spoke with myself, how critical I was with myself when I wasn’t on top of my to-do list, how quick I was to judge myself for not getting things ‘perfect’ & how slow I was to forgive myself when I had said or done something unkind, even after I had apologised and my apology had been accepted. It was an absolute eye-opener to realise my relationship with myself, which I would have presumed was fine, was actually often unkind and unloving and full of judgement.
By simply observing how I spoke with myself, without any goal to change how I was, my relationship with myself naturally began to soften, becoming kinder and more loving with myself as each week passed. I find it an incredibly powerful practise still to this day.
As we begin our SELF-OBSERVATION practice today, remember to be gentle and loving with yourself. Kindness is Key. If you have any questions, just ask & I’ll do my best to answer.
I would also love to hear how you find this practice, what was challenging, what was surprising and what was your discovery about your relationship with yourself.
Remember the most important ingredient is SELF-KINDNESS and SELF-COMPASSION, all the time moving toward a more SELF-LOVING relationship with yourself.
Also, ‘Self Observation’ by Red Hawk is a book I love reading over and over again. It examines the practise of self-observation in great detail and continues to guide me in my own practice.