Practicing Maitri [Unconditional Friendship with Oneself]

“Spring is about growth and easing into the light. When we practice maitri [unconditional friendship with oneself], we feel unconditional love and kindness toward ourselves. Extend this practice to others.”


~ Monika Carless, Elephant Journal,

“Spring Equinox: The Astrological New Year Begins”

Unconditional love and kindness towards ourselves. What if we grew more of that? What does that look and feel like to you?

It’s lovely to receive compliments and kindness from others. It’s amazing to feel compassion from those around us, especially at our most vulnerable and self-critical times. And. Partnered or un-partnered, living with or surrounded by others or living alone, we are “in”–privy to–our own heads and hearts more than anyone else. Our thoughts and feelings about ourselves–expressed in self-talk, acts and thoughts toward self, our priorities–create a structure that can support us or break us. Relying on others for friendship, love and kindness will only go so far; we need to have a wonderful friendship with ourselves.

Depression, grief, loss and other life experiences, as well as unhealthy mindsets created and shaped long ago or even more recently, can offer challenges to our relationship with ourselves. And understandably so. I’ve also realized even more so with more of the grief support I’m offering that when we depend so much–too much–on others to keep us lifted, we can be even more devastated when that person is no longer physically with us. What, then, is the source of our self-esteem and worth, if not within? So, what do we do about it?

Small steps. Important steps. Commitment. Any steps towards kinder self-talk, thoughts and priorities for ourselves. A couple of months ago, I (again) ventured into the on-line dating world. I’ve felt ready for partnership after lots of healing this last year-plus of time. And in six weeks with seven dates, I didn’t hear compliments, I didn’t receive any financial generosity even when I gave, and I was reminded of the ever-importance of my own self-view and self-treatment. (Note: I know this is not everyone’s experience.) What a gift! I felt relieved to pull my profile and realize that there are other ways to meet people and that I’m still intact. My self-care and self-talk are even lovelier. Mr. Partner will merely offer icing on the cake.

In this time of new, this time of excitement, this time of unfolding… how can you strengthen the friendship with yourself? How can you be an outstanding, unwavering, loyal supporter of yourself? Do one new thing this next week. Try it on. Feel free to let me know how it’s going and feeling.

 

© 2017 Erika M. Schreck. All rights reserved.

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2 thoughts on “Practicing Maitri [Unconditional Friendship with Oneself]

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I read it when you first posted it and again today. I’m working on self-compassion and letting go of the shame of “failures” (which were actually useful information to guide my path) to make space for more self-empowered action.

    In the dating realm, it can be a challenge to remember to see each experience/dating partner as a teacher (as you’ve suggested to me.. and I love this). I’ve learned harsh truths, but I’ve also learned beautiful ones. I’m striving to stay in the moment, stay grateful, let go of uncertainty, and be the most kind and authentic person I can be. Basically, the goal is to keep my spark, my high luster, instead of getting dull and jaded. I also found that dating apps tend to suck away my energy and presence in the moment with the people around me.

    Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jessica, it means so much that you read this post–twice!–and that it helped in some way. I also really appreciate your comment. You’re on such a powerful path, and staying aware and doing the work as you are…. *will* help lessen the suffering and help you manifest the Mr. Partner and more of the life you desire. It’s worth it. I *love* your perspective that your “failure” were “actually useful information to guide [your] path.” YES. Keep on keepin’ on, Sista Awesome-ness. Have you read Kristin Neff’s book about self-compassion? Hugs and support.

      Like

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