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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