• Madhura

Self Love

Alright my dear friends, how are you doing? How was your weekend? It is such nice weather here in New Jersey. We are having a fantastic summer. Kids are officially on summer break and enjoying their break to the fullest. As usual, me and my husband are trying to do our best to occupy them, play with them and of course fulfill the commitments of our job. Sometimes, it is a struggle, juggling both the worlds. But we are doing our best. How about you? How’s your summer going? I hope you are enjoying the nice weather and a lot of outside time in the sun.


Happy Moment of the Week

Today, when I was thinking of the happy moment of the week, I was not sure which one to pick for today’s episode. I had such a wonderful week that I could not choose one moment. We are making so many nice memories this summer that it is hard to pick one. But let me tell you one very special moment. Basically, it was our 10 year anniversary a few days back. At the beginning of the year, we made so many plans about this day. We were thinking of taking a cruise trip. But you all might have already guessed, how that turned out? With the pandemic happening, we could not book the cruise. But when life gives you lemons, you better make lemonade. Right? On the day of our anniversary, kids surprised us with a sweet  gesture. I am guessing they might have shared this plan with my husband. They asked to have dinner early, way early. Both my kids had dinner and then asked me to wait in the bedroom for a few minutes. When they called me back in the dining room, three of them had transformed our dining room, with nice flowers, candles and some music. My son told me that they are giving us some time to have a nice and quiet dinner before we all can play our weekend board games. It was the best gift I could possibly get. Me and my husband got a chance to sit down quietly, in the comfort of our own home and enjoy dinner, talking to each other. What a peaceful dinner it was! I was so touched by the kids' gestures. When did they get so big and mature? It was a lovely moment, a moment to cherish forever. 


How about you my dear friends? I would absolutely love to hear your happy moments of the week. I am thinking of reading some of your happy moments of the week in upcoming episodes. So, please post your happy moments of the week in the facebook community thread. We have an amazing community on Facebook. They all are just like you, highly motivated and lovely. Please join the facebook group. Morning Cup of Sunshine. Share your happy moment of the week on this page.


Okay friends, it is time to discuss today’s goal. We have touched this topic in previous episodes. But this episode is completely dedicated to one of the most important goals in life and that is Self Love.  Loving yourself is your greatest responsibility. Everytime, someone talks about self love, it is considered to be selfish, but really, self love is not selfish, it is important. I feel that it is the most ignored and misunderstood aspect of life. Today, we are going to work on changing this mindset completely. To tell you the truth, I had my own struggles about self love. To be very honest, I had to build a lot of courage to talk about this subject as I am still a work in progress. I am still trying to be better at it. But it is such an important habit to form that I want to bring you all with me on this journey of self love. So, let’s start, my friends.



Step 1 :  Caring for your Soul

What is soul and why is it important to love something which you can’t even see? Your soul is your emotional or intellectual energy or intensity. It is the principal of life, It is the essence of who you are at the core. It makes you become you. Isn’t it absolutely necessary to love something so important? But how to love your soul? Easiest way to love your soul is  by listening to it, respecting it and taking care of it. Today, we will brainstorm the ideas to take care of our soul.

One way to do it is by listening to your emotions. We have been taught to suppress our emotions. We have been told to stop crying, whining since childhood. We have been told not to get too excited, too proud with the success. I understand too much of anything is not a good idea. But why isn’t it okay to feel your emotions? Being an emotional person myself, I have seen this first hand. We have been told to behave in certain ways. But I want to say this today. It is okay to feel your feelings. It is okay to feel all different emotions. I want you all to listen to your emotions and then decide which ones you should let go, which ones you should cherish and which ones you need to work on. I want you all to notice all your emotions, just don’t ignore and suppress them in a box. Let me tell you my own story. Few days back, I decided to clean up and reorganize my kids’ room. They both share a room and it is their bedroom as well as playroom. So it has their bed, toys, clothes, books. Basically everything that they own, it's in this one single room. I decided to clean everything in one go. Ideally, I should have broken down this huge project into parts but  I decided to go through their closet, toys bins, books in one Saturday. I woke up early, finished all the cooking so I could get a lot of time to work on this room. I think I started tackling their clothes around 8 in the morning. I emptied their closet, sorted through their clothes to figure out which ones are too small or too worn out for them to wear. Then I decided to iron all of their clothing so that they fit perfectly and nicely in their organizing bins. It took me a lot of time to get through all their clothing. I did not take a break even to have breakfast. I started feeling little winded, but I chose to ignore it. Soon after, I started going through all the toys and putting them away in nice and organized bins. By the time I started working on books, it was almost 3.00. I did not take a break to have lunch even after being reminded multiple times by my husband. I just didn't want to stop till I finished everything. Finally, after a lot of organizing and reorganizing, the room started looking beautiful. I was feeling accomplished but to be very honest, now I started feeling a little irritated over small things like how many books do my kids have? Why is the room so small? Why am I the only one who wants this place organized? I started feeling more and more frustrated. I was too grumpy. I did not like when my kids wanted to take out their toys to play with from those beautifully organized bins. It was just too much for me. But then, I decided to take a break. Finally. I went into the kitchen, fixed myself a nice , warm lunch. I saw my kids save me the last piece of amazing cheesecake we baked a couple of days back. Tears started rolling down my chicks. It was me who decided to clean that room. It was me who decided not to take breaks. It was me who pushed myself to the limits. I was just hangry. Hungry and Angry. I sat quietly for a moment or two and then hugged my kids without saying a single word. I was feeling a lot of emotions. At that moment, I decided to listen to my emotions before they got out of hand. I decided to be mindful of my emotions, take care of my feelings. It is so important to listen to your feelings. If you are feeling angry, that’s okay. Feel it. It just makes you more human. But how you act on it is what makes you a good person. Do you let your emotions take the better part of you? Respect your emotions and work on them. This is one way of caring for your soul. 

Another way to live a soulful life is by serving others. You take care of your soul by taking care of others. We can contribute in our own small way. There are so many ways to show your gratitude towards the society we live in. We all have our own circle that we feel secure in. Our family is our closest circle. You don’t need to be told to take care of your family. It is given right? We all work so hard to take care of our family. Few close friends and extended family come in the next layer of this circle. We care for them and will rush to help in case they need anything. As your social awareness grows, your circle starts growing. The simplest way to start helping humanity is by being non-judgmental. I am sure you must have seen this or similar to this incident at least once. I was at the Costco the other day.  I was standing in the check out line. There was a family just ahead of me. Husband, wife and their two kids about 3 and 7. The wife was putting the items from the cart onto the counter. The husband was talking on the phone with someone. 3 year old was not ready to sit in the cart. She was trying to get down and the mom was continuously trying to convince her. It looked like a 7 year old wanted something from the shop that his mom and dad did not buy so he was asking for it every two minutes. The mom was trying her level best to keep her cool. I could see from her mask covered face that  she was getting more and more agitated. This had been going on for about 3-4 minutes. The husband was on the phone the whole time. Must be an important phone call. Finally, it was just too much for the lady. She just couldn't bear it anymore. She yelled at her kids and then just bursted into tears. Everyone from the checkout line started looking at them. Now, the husband disconnected his call and came to rescue. I could not hear a thing but my guess is he asked his wife not to make a scene. She looked ashamed and started saying sorry to everyone in the checkout line. It broke my heart. Nobody, even her husband helped her while she was struggling to handle those two kids, but everyone was quick to judge. I am sure nobody even noticed her till she yelled at her kids. But everyone was quick to judg, there was a weird awkwardness in everyone around us. I could see the judgemental faces. I am not saying it is okay to yell at our kids but is it okay to judge anyone without listening to the entire story? Why did she feel the need to say sorry to people in the checkout line? Can’t we be nonjudgmental? I felt so bad for her that day. At that moment, I decided not to judge anyone for their actions. It is not my place to judge. We moms always feel responsible for our kids behavior, feel guilty if they don’t behave well. I could not forget her helpless face that day. Till day, I regret that I did not help her. I did not have courage to go and help her. I should have asked her if I could load her groceries but I felt awkward. But after that incident, I decided to help in my small way, if I see someone struggling. I decided to make sure that I go and at least ask if she needs any help. I know this is a very small thing. But as I  always say, start small.

There are so many small ways you can contribute to this amazing society we live in. Just smile and be friendly to everyone you meet.

One of my friends teaches the house help and encourages them to learn, get a degree. It is such a noble thing to do. I always believe if you can get just one thing in a life to improve your quality of life, then that is education. I have seen this first hand in my family. My dad has 3 siblings, their dad passed away very early. I think my dad was hardly 12. My grandma went to the nurse’s college, got the degree and started working in a hospital. It was hard to raise 4 kids with such small income. There were very few working women. I am sure my grandma had to go through a lot of social bullying and judgements. But she had only one single goal. She wanted to do her best and raise the kids, provide them with the best education. I have heard stories from my dad, how sometimes they did not have new clothes for years but always had money for their school. All this hard work paid off. My dad and one of my aunts became doctors. My uncle completed his engineering degree and started working for the government. My other aunt, youngest of all, did PhD in not one but two subjects. Entire family was raised from poverty to what we call as a middle class with one value - importance of education. So when I see my friend, working so hard for the househelps, to give them the opportunity to learn, I can’t stop feeling extremely proud about her.

Find what you are passionate about and try to contribute to society in that way. I guarantee you if you serve others, help others you will find a new love for yourself. 


The third way to love your soul could be by forgiving others. There is no point in holding grudges in this beautiful life. You lift tons of weight from your soul by forgiving others. Do you feel good when you hold a grudge or do you feel relieved if you just let it go? Forgiveness is not a sign of the week. It comes from the position of strength. You carry so much love in your heart, give some to others. We're constantly holding onto things in our past, which can weigh heavy on our souls and even give us low self-esteem. The more blocks we clear, the more we can really live big in the area of self-love. It's really only holding us back from moving forward to reaching self-acceptance and loving who we are.

Don’t think about what that other person is doing? When things change inside you things change around you. It is not that difficult to forgive someone, just be intentional about it. If you want to find an inspiration, look at your kids. Have you ever seen small kids holding a grudge? They just forget and forgive in a moment. . You will find a new you, the one you admire, love if you just stop holding grudges. How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you.

We talked about loving our soul, but it is also important to love your amazing mind. 


Step 2 : Love your mind

Mind is the projection of your soul. Mind is the one who asks questions, counters argue. Mind is the most powerful muscle in your body. It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to ,has power over you, if you allow it. So treat your mind with utmost respect. Nourish it with positive thoughts and affirmations. I read this quote by Gautam Buddha. It goes like this 

What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create. It becomes so important to pay attention to our thoughts and beliefs. Your mind only wants love from you. Today is the day when I want you all to decide not to say self diminishing things to yourself. From today, when you wake up I would love it if you all say this one thing to yourself. Choose any adjective that you want yourself to be or use all of them. Just stand in front of the mirror and say, I am strong. Bold, Courageous, Loved, Motivated, Healthy, Intelligent, Creative, Confident, Special, Beautiful, Focused, Disciplined, Peaceful, Grateful. I am enough.

I love myself, I accept myself, I forgive myself. I believe in me. This has to be your daily habit, the first thing that you do in the morning. It might feel a little uncomfortable at first or even a little silly. But trust me it will change your entire mood and set you up for an amazing day.

Taking care  of yourself doesn't mean “me first”. It means “me too”. I mentioned the Superhero pose in a previous episode - Comparison is the thief of joy.  This falls into the same category. Listen to that episode, you will get an idea how to implement it. Love your mind first, appreciate the power of your thinking first, and I assure you everything else will fall in line. Always remember, you yourself as much as anybody in the entire universe deserves your love and affection. Your mind can do amazing things if you treat it right. It needs your affection and love. We always make an effort, work hard to make others love us. I always used to catch myself  longing for someone else’s approval. I wanted everybody to notice my efforts, my wins, my achievements and tell me how great I am. I always felt disappointed when someone did not notice. But as I started working on self love. I realised, I cannot force someone to appreciate me. Also, I cannot rely on someone else for my happiness. I have to find it within myself. I struggled many years to finally put an end to this vicious cycle. I had an Aha moment. Really. You will stop caring about what someone else says, or not say only when you are 100% content with yourself in and out. We can be so desperate for love and appreciation from someone else that we forget where we can always find it. I started working on loving myself, accepting myself with all my flaws, working on the things that make me feel loved and it helped me come out of the continuous craving for approval. Just remember friends, love yourself instead of loving the idea of other people.

That brings to the  last step of today’s episode. 


Step 3 : Love your body.

As I promised you earlier, I am going to bring you an entire episode around this same topic. But self love will not be complete unless you start loving yourself the way you are. Have you watched Rachel Hollis’s show on Amazon Prime, it is called Made for More. She is truly an inspiration to me. She mentioned that in their Rise conferences, they did one exercise, it is called stand up for your sister. They wrote a bunch of statements on a piece of paper and asked everyone to check the ones that apply to them. They passed those papers in the room multiple times to keep it completely anonymous. The paper you get in your hand will be from a totally different person in the room. Then Rachel reads the statement and if it is checked in the paper you have in your hand,  you are supposed to stand up. Rachel said in the documentary that when she read out the sentence “I hate the way I look” Let me repeat the statement, “I hate the way I look” It is not I don’t like the way I look.  The word is strong hate. You won’t believe but each and every person in that room stood up. I was shocked by this. I could not get it out of my head for so many days. When you see in the mirror, I am sure at some point in your life, you might have said that I wish I was skinnier  or taller or fair. I wish I had straight hair. But saying I hate the way I look is extreme and it is being said by thousands of women in that room was nerve racking. It is time for all of us to think about it. Is it the behavior we want to model for our children? Do we want to pass this legacy to our kids? The hate for your own body, the amazing body that keeps you breathing. When are we going to stop exercising only for losing weight and start working out as a way to show gratitude to our amazing body? Who did decide that skinny is beautiful? Why are we so ashamed of our incredible body that has birthed an entire human being? Shouldn’t we have a life beyond height, weight, skin color, stretchmarks,mommy pouch. You are an amazing, beautiful  person with your unique and lovely inner beauty. Also whatever applies to you definitely applies to the person sitting next to you. If you feel hurt by a snarky comment about your body, isn’t it your responsibility not to shame someone else? Think about it hard my friends. Let’s decide that from today, we will not pass a comment on someone’s body shape, size, color. You don’t know their struggles, their stories and it is not your place to judge. 

But does that mean you should ignore your body? Absolutely not. I want you all to listen to your body, care for it, respect it. There are simple ways to treat your body right. Make yourself a priority. I personally have benefited from one habit. I was working from home for a few years. When you work from home, you really don’t need to dress up for the job but I always find an increase in my productivity if I treat my office hours as my dedicated office hours. I started dressing up in the morning as if I am going to the office. It helped me feel good about myself. Go through your closet today and find the pieces that you really love and feel confident in them. Wear them regularly. Dress for the day even when you are home the whole day. Another extremely important way to care for your body is our trio - Exercise, hydrate and Healthy nutrition. Always, remember to eat like you love yourself. Move like you love yourself. Act like you love yourself. 

You might say, I understand all this but I personally feel that I am not really in love with myself. I don’t feel loved. I am not sure if I am worth it. What now? First of all, it is okay to feel these emotions but we are all here to lift each other up. You are absolutely worth it and I will tell you a simple technique to feel amazing about yourself. Start writing 5 things about yourself that you absolutely adore. Write down your accomplishments and keep adding to that list everyday. It can be the smallest thing but if you feel accomplished, write it down. It will be your feel good journal. I read a quote by Warsan Shine. It goes like this Document the moments you feel most in love with yourself. All minute details, what you are wearing, who you’re around, what you’re doing. Recreate and repeat. This is such a powerful way to feel good about yourself. 

The last thing we need to do to love our body is to listen to it when it says I am too tired. Take a break, you can not pour from an empty cup. Take a break for self care. Take a hot shower, relax, listen to nice music, read a book or just take a nap. Self care is giving the world best of you instead of what’s left of you. It is okay to take out time to treat yourself. You are 100% worth that time.  You are so worth it my friends, 


Recap

Honestly, this was such a difficult episode for me to record. It stirred a lot of emotions for me. I am still a work in progress.  But it is an important topic that needs lot of discussion. Today we touched upon many beautiful ideas and concepts to cultivate and culture the self love. Let’s quickly recap all the steps and tools that we discussed today.

Step 1 - Love your soul - Few ways to love your soul are listening to your emotions, helping others  and forgiving others.

Step 2 - Love your mind - The ways to love and care for your minds are positive affirmations, acceptance.

Step 3 - Love your body - In this step we discussed how to care for your body by exercising, accepting the way it it and listening to it.


This week we will be doing these things to cultivate the habit of self love. First we will figure out our passion and start giving few minutes to it for us and for the betterment of the society. We will start saying positive affirmations the first thing in the morning. And lastly, move your body at least 30 minutes a day.

One step at a time my friends, we will be there. You are more than your mistakes you have made. Believe in yourself a little more. Self love is yor super power.

Just Relax, Breathe, Shine and show some love to the amazing person standing in front of you in the mirror.



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