How often do you think kindly of yourself? My guess is, probably not as often as you should. It is rare for us to admit we love ourselves. Unfortunately, it is often frowned upon and seen as vanity or narcissism. But this is truly not the case- how can we be expected to love others if we do not even know how to love ourselves?!
I was flicking through Marci Shimoff’s book “Happy for No Reason” yesterday when I came across a happiness exercise that I really want to share with you. It’s called the “Loving Kindness Practice”, and it’s designed to expand your capacity for compassion by guiding you through the process of wishing loving kindness to yourself and others. Happiness starts with you, so give it a go:
1. Find a quiet place and sit comfortably. Close your eyes.
2. Take slow, deep breaths, being aware of the breath as it enters and leaves your body. Let your thoughts come and go easily.
3. Repeat the following phrases silently:
May I be safe
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I live with ease
Continue feeling these wishes toward yourself for a minute or two until you experience a sense of peace inside.
4. Now, move on to your friends and family. Picture one of them as you send the following wishes silently:
May you be safe
May you be happy
May you be healthy
May you live with ease
Continue sending these wishes until you feel a flow of love in your heart.
5. Now send these wishes to all the living beings around the world. Continue until you feel a sense of expansion in your heart.