I know the average person sees Valentine’s day as an opportunity to buy presents and eat yummy fancy foods and buy cards and things.  Those are pretty traditional Valentine’s Day activities.  However, I like to view Valentine’s day as more of a benchmark.  A time to sit and contemplate my thoughts and perceptions about the most important thing in the whole world:

Love.

Many gurus and teachers say that the best way to receive love is to first love yourself... embrace self-love.  I agree with that, and that all sounds great…but what does it really mean? 

The first step is figuring out what you need.  What you enjoy.  What brings you bliss.  …That is the easy part.

What comes next is the hard part.  …Actually doing it.

When you start to think about it, I know you will immediately encounter the big obstacle, the big question: “And where am I supposed to find the time for this bath/massage/chocolate eating/yoga session/date with myself?”

This is where you employ the secret technique.  And this requires some practice.

Learn how to say, “No.”

When you can say no, you can start to set expectations and boundaries with those around you.  Stop overcommitting.  Stop trying to be such a people-pleaser.  Stop putting YOU on the back-burner.

And this isn’t just about a one-time occurence of self-love and bliss.  This is about creating a sustainable pattern that you feel REALLY good about.  And modeling– being a good example– for your spouse, kids, family, and friends.

To help you with this process, which can at first feel selfish and guilt-inducing, I’ve included here a mantra to support you.

We begin practicing this love meditation on ourselves, contemplating:
May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be safe and free from injury.
May I be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

After that, we can practice on others (he/she) contemplating:
May he/she be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May he/she be safe and free from injury.
May he/she be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

After that we can practice including ourselves with others (we) contemplating:
May we be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May we be safe and free from injury.
May we be free from anger, afflictions, fear and anxiety.

-Inge Santoso

Do you find it difficult to say, “No”?  How will you practice this important skill?  Comment below with your thoughts!

Much love and Namasté!

Julie

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