Are you witness to moments of self-judgement? Afraid to be in the center of the room in yoga class because of your body or abilities? Do negative or toxic thoughts disrupt your practice? Do you fully accept yourself as you are? Start small...start on your mat.
I have a history with this quote. It has always been one of my favorites. With eight years of catholic school notched in my belt, I've spent a lot of time looking through stained glass windows. Besides being fully loaded with bright colors, they are often filled with stories and symbols. As individuals, we are very similar to stained glass windows. We are also made from an array of colors, stories and personal symbolism. Some of us shine our colors bright, while others cast darker shades through the room. If you walk into a dark church, it could be as if there were no windows...or perhaps they are hiding. Stained glass is always beautiful because it exists, but it is beautifully awakened when there is light shining upon it.
Self-love and self-acceptance is the light we shine on our personal stained glass windows, even in the dark. This light comes from two places, the outside and the inside.
Often times we get so used to the chorus of "I hate my legs" or "I wish my body looked like THAT". We become fixed and mesmerized in a world filled with perpetual negativity and camouflaged self-love. This world is us, the one we live in, the one we cannot escape...every moment of our existence. There is no relief from this, unless we decide to change the scenery.
What kind of light do you shine through your stained glass window?
Is it strong enough to penetrate through the darkness?
Why we need to love ourselves even if we don't like ourselves.
No one is perfect. Ugh, "perfect" is such an awful word. Perfection doesn't exist. My high school art teacher would constantly remind us that there are no straight lines in nature. Despite our mechanical world, there ultimately is no perfection. Sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are not. Sometimes we are thrown curve-balls completely out of our control. Sometimes we fall into traps of repetitive self-pity and loathing. We may not always like who we are or what we look like...but we must always come to terms with it. Life is a constant journey toward happiness and fulfillment, we are fluid. If we cannot accept what is, then there will be no change. I'm not saying acceptance is allowance. I'm saying acceptance unlocks the door to movement, if movement or change is desired. The first step toward self-love is self-acceptance...no matter what is. Because what is, is. We cannot change the present moment, but we can accept it and increase our level of awareness.
This is the part we have to do ourselves. Other people may do things or say things that help us feel more acceptance, but that technique flawed and won't completely work. You will be alone in this task. It has to come from within, and only you can do this. Sometimes, with solitude comes strength. As Danielle LaPorte says, "you have get past the layers of self disdain to get to the warm center of true adoration...the Self-Love Tootsie Roll."
Start small - start on your mat.
I was completely unaware of all this self-acceptance stuff until I started practicing yoga. It feels so wrong now to say "I wish I had that body!" Yoga allowed this transformation to happen for me. It's funny how coming to my mat can gradually resemble a feeling similar to coming home. The yoga mat is like a boundary. Within it, all is safe, all is positively vulnerable...and nothing is taken too seriously. Within the confines of our mat, lessons are learned, mistakes are made, surprises are illuminated. It's the most ideal and easiest place to start.
Let yoga re-introduce you to yourself
Think of your yoga mat as a coffee shop, a meeting place of two acquaintances. It's a place you come back to often, to chat, laugh, share stories and get to know one another. Sometimes you get along great, but other times there may be tension, conflicts or even tears. Many of us have spent most of our life following a general routine, or worse even...expectations. How often do we look at ourselves beyond our face and skin, past the narrow confinements of societal values. How often do we really become familiar with our mind and appreciate our body for the way it is? Our body is more than just a body to walk around in. Practicing yoga will ignite a deeper purpose. The strength you begin to feel will be more than just stronger leg muscles, it will be a stronger truth, a stronger inner drive, a stronger sense of self-worth. Yoga can initiate this process of self-love by helping us to look within. But to look within we must be able to feel...and to feel we must be able to become vulnerable.
Go ahead, try it. The next time you are on your mat, fully embrace every thought you have, every undesired fold of skin...every bony knee, ugly toe or flabby arm.
Climb to the summit of self-awareness and crack a smile each time something makes you dispirited...then remember, there are no straight lines in nature.
Thanks for reading friends,
"Eventually you must love yourself just because of...yourself." - Danielle LaPorte
Before you go...
Be sure to check out a dear friend's devotion and work within the body-love movement.
Body Love by Emily - Emily is a sweet soul and friend with a large presence in our small Wyoming community, with a lovely program available to everyone.
Are you ready to start the journey?
Hello, I'm Julie.
One of the many things yoga taught me was empowerment...and I hope to share that with you here.
Bring wisdom, nourishment and a deeper connection to all aspects of your life.