Big Hugs for Valentine’s Day & You too!

love selfValentine’s Day gets a bad rap a lot of the times. I get it – why do we need a day to remind the people we love that we love them? Shouldn’t we be doing that every day? Yes, we should and we don’t need to spend money on stupid cards, flowers or crappy candy (good chocolate is the exception) to show our love and gratitude for the people we love in our lives.

On this Valentine’s Day I think the focus should be on Celebrating Love. Celebrate love by showing your love for everything. Not just the people in your life but the wonderful life you have. Celebrate this amazing world around you and all the blessings that are in your life. You do not need to do this with gifts, instead do it with actions, get out in nature and do something you love with your loved ones, explore and discover new things. If you want to give gifts, make something special, bake a cake, create art together and share it. But make sure it comes from the heart, not just something you have to do because it’s the day we’re suppose to do it.

I also think this is a great time to show love for yourself. Whether or not you have a significant other to celebrate with or a family to share your love with, this Valentine’s Day, I think everyone should take a few minutes (or longer) to give yourself the love you deserve. Don’t wait for someone else to buy you a massage, get one for yourself. If you want some decadent chocolate – go get it. If you need a nap, a moment of silence or time to yourself in a nice hot bath – take that time without guilt (easier said than done, I know). I have talked about this in the past about how challenging it is for so many to have loving compassion for our selves. We spend so much time caring for others, working hard for others and trying to improve ourselves so we can fit in to the stereotypical norms of society we lose track of who we are and what we REALLY need to be fulfilled. For a lot of people, being with friends and family is what fulfills them, but what happens when the security of others is not around? Are you able to sit and be okay alone? This should be the goal for Valentine’s Day – before you shower your loved ones with gifts and love – remember to give yourself a little love and compassion first. This gift will be even more meaningful to your loved ones, because once you can truly love yourself and be happy with what you have, then you can share that love with others around you.

This is something I am personally working on and I have a consistent mantra that I try to remember on a daily basis. The word is Maitri (or metta) and it is a Sanskrit word for Loving Compassion. This is a meditation that is helpful to practice when trying to cultivate more love for yourself (and others), I practiced something similar to this in a yoga class this week, which I felt was very fitting for Valentine’s week. The goal now is to try and keep it going after the hearts and flowers have moved on!

Why Oh Why…

Why oh why am I so obsessed with my weight? This is an interesting question that I lovingkindness_color1-1024x779struggle with every single day. Maybe I have too much time on my hands or maybe I am letting my hormones get the best of me. Either way, I am obsessed. I am obsessed about what I eat, and when to eat and what I am going to do for my work out, etc, etc, etc. I know that I should not be obsessed. My logical brain tells me that I am healthy, I look pretty good, my husband loves me and doesn’t want me to change a thing, but still, I am way too concerned about how I look, the way my butt looks in my pants and why I can’t make my thighs smaller. I have been trying to be good for a long time now (really for as long as I can remember), I use online trackers, I have talked to nutritionists, tracking my eating in a book, didn’t weigh myself for A WHOLE month (per the nutritionist’s recommendation) and yet the number on the scale did not change. Seriously. I really thought I was doing good, I really thought I was making progress. But yet, no progress, no change. I know I probably am not as good as I could be, really my problem is self control. I know what I should and should not eat, yet I still eat chips when we are skiing, I drink alcohol when I go out for a night, eat out way more than I should, and so on, it is an endless cycle. And really all I want is to feel good, happy and healthy in my own skin. I really just want to love my body and all my curves. Really what I want most in the world is for my two daughters NEVER to feel bad about their bodies, better yet, ALWAYS feel good about themselves! I also know that I need to model that behavior for them to learn it.

I have been reading a lot of articles this week, today I read this article and part of me thinks, wow what strength this lady has, first for not eating any food all day and then second for writing the article. I also enjoyed this video from the Today Show talking about how to Love your Selfie! It is so true. Why can’t we just come to terms and love the self we are in? Why is it so difficult? Maybe it comes from years and years of trying to be the best or achieve what someone else has. There are so many outside influences telling us what we should look like, how to lose weight fast, how to look like this girl and so on. As this is National Eating Disorder Week I decided I would just put this out there. I don’t have an eating disorder, my issue is really a self-image disorder. I love food too much not to eat it, I just need to figure out what the healthy balance for myself is and to come to terms with the body I have. I may never lose those extra 10-15 pounds, they may just be here with me and what I really need to do is remember some powerful lessons and words I have learned in my yoga classes: the first is Maitri (or Metta) which means Loving Kindness. Something that I strive to have for others and need to learn to have for myself. The second is Santosha which means Contentment or Satisfaction with what you have. Two very big lessons that will possibly take a lifetime to learn and make a daily habit. But as I write this (and post it) I am making the commitment to try and keep THESE lessons at the top of my head, instead of the number on the scale or how my butt looks.