I sometimes participate in a morning online meditation session, and this morning’s practice was all about something called loving kindness meditations. It’s not often that a whole session is spent on this, and it got me thinking about how little time we actually spend “talking nice” to ourselves.
This seems especially true when we are going through big changes, or something seems missing in our lives. Think about it. How much time each day do you spend criticizing yourself versus telling yourself that everything is OK, it’s as it should be, and to ease up, be good to yourself, and keep yourself safe? If you’re like most people, it’s probably a pretty uneven balance.
It’s no wonder there is a tradition in meditation to throw in a loving kindness section at the end of each practice. And it’s funny how soothing and uplifting the words are. The tradition starts with expressing loving kindness towards yourself (you know the old adage, love yourself first). Then you take it outward, starting with people close to you, ending up talking about all beings, including those you don’t get along with too well.
I find it amazing how chilled out I feel after saying the words to myself a few times. It’s a reminder of how infrequently we take the time to appreciate what we have and to see the power of words in our thought processes.
The meditation has lots of variations, but I’ll share one basic approach below. Essentially, you are talking to yourself, reminding yourself that you determine how your day will go, because no matter what happens, you decide how to respond to it.
So next time you have a tough day coming up, or are nervous about something, or afraid of how you’ll cope with difficult people, try talking to yourself with a little loving kindness: May I be happy, may I be healthy and well, may I be peaceful and at ease, and may I be safe from inner and outer harm.
Just repeat that to yourself a few times, try closing your eyes when you do it. It may be just the ticket to calm you down and prepare you for the day. After all, if we’re nice to ourselves, it’s probably a lot easier to be nice to everyone else.