Sunday, February 26, 2012

5 Ways to Feel More Love & Compassion For Yourself & Others

By Erin Lanahan

“The amount of happiness that you have depends on the amount of freedom you have in your heart.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Lately I’ve been feeling a sense of vulnerability that I always wished I could feel without being afraid.

I have always wished I was one of those people who could show my authentic self to the world, and still be able to look you in the eye, after I let you see me, without quivering in shame or regret.

Not too long ago, I shared my feelings with someone who I deeply loved. This was one of the hardest, scariest things I’ve ever done, but it gave me the freedom to be vulnerable and to finally have a heart that’s ready to let love in.

Loving this person has taught me so much about love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Although he did not want the same things I want, just having him in my life has taught me more about how to feel unconditional love and genuine compassion for myself.

As a result, I am experiencing a deep level of unconditional love and compassion for others.

I use to walk around taking things very personally.

If I walked by a stranger who gave me a dirty look, or if a bank teller was rude, or if the man I loved didn’t want to love me back in the way I wanted him to, I thought it meant there was something wrong with me. However, what I’m realizing is that none of it has anything to do with me.

I have a brand new sense of awareness now.

When I begin to experience negative self-talk inside of me, I seem to be shifting almost immediately to a place of self-love, forgiveness, acceptance, and compassion for myself. This inner awakening has begun to translate into a new perception of my outside world.

Instead of my usual thoughts and reactions that occur when confronted with less than ideal responses from the external world, I am able to see me in you and you in me.

Right away I begin to feel compassion, because I know you hurt, just like me, and you feel joy, just like me. You worry and feel scared sometimes, just like me. You have bad days, just like me, and you have amazing days, just like me. You are seeking, just like me. You want to believe in love, just like me.

I look at people passing me by in the store, on the streets, or in traffic, and have a deep sense of knowing that they too feel separate sometimes, and they too have times when they fear they will never be enough—just like me.

We all feel the same things.

This realization has allowed me to continue loving even when it isn’t returned to me in the exact way I initially wanted it. True love, after all, is to love someone and expect nothing in return.

I practice this daily by being honest about what’s in my heart, without holding on too tightly to the outcome.

For me, practicing love is the same as practicing the art of letting go, and giving others the freedom to just be—accepting them exactly the way they are. It’s something we can do with friends, family, love interests, and strangers alike.

I can now look this special man in the eyes and smile because I know he is just like me. I know that he can see me now, because I finally revealed myself to him, and I feel good about myself for doing that.

I can accept him and just experience him for who he is and where he is on his path because I know now that we are the same. I know that what will happen, will happen, and what will not, will not.

In the meantime, I continue to make more room inside of my heart to give and receive love.

The simple act of making a shift within has completely transformed the type of relationships I’m attracting. When you live from a place of self love, the world mirrors love and compassion back to you.

When you give yourself unconditional love, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance, you’re then able to give that to others.

Here are 5 tips to feel more love and compassion for yourself and therefore reflect that back to the world:

1. If you don’t feel real love for yourself yet, act as if.

Act lovingly towards yourself and do things that nurture you, make you stronger, and make you proud of who you are and how you live your life. Exercise, meditation, helping others freely, and eating a healthy diet work really well for me. Practice progress, not perfection.

2. When you feel hurt by someone else, remind yourself that they are just like you.

They hurt, feel fear, have insecurities, and feel the need to defend and protect themselves. They are no different than you and me.

At times, we all react to the programming in our minds. As you commit to feeling unconditional love and compassion for self and others, you will begin to transform the programming in your brain. All you need is awareness. Just be aware.

3. Remember, others are on their path just like you are on yours.

You are both just doing the best you can.

4. Be of service in the world.

Nothing will help you find compassion within yourself and for others like coming face to face with people who have much less materially and way bigger problems than you.

5. Turn within and ask your higher knowing to show you where you lack integrity, love, trust, compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance.

Then ask yourself to heal.

Be patient with the process. Sometimes small shifts happen over time. Allowing your own process to unfold is an act of love in and of itself.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Give Meaning to Life

By Sharice Harris

-There is only one way to live life and that is to live life completely and absolutely in Love-

One autumn day while everyone was busy being busy, I decided to hide in a corner and read a short story I will never forget: ‘The Girl Who Loved Too Much’.

The fictional tale was about a young girl who fell head over heels in Love with life and everything it had to offer. She fell in Love with the blue sky, she fell in love with the birds, she fell in Love with the clouds and the bright warm sun, she fell in Love with the brooks, streams and rolling meadows. She loved so much that everyone and everything was beckoned and drawn to her infectious Love for life.

However the girl began to notice that each time she loved more, everyone and everything began to inch closer and closer. As she loved the trees, they came closer, as she loved the brook, it came closer, the clouds, the sun and the sky all came closer as she gave her Love away, even nearby animals and people who saw the girl’s Love came closer. Before long everything and everyone had come so close that the young girl no longer had room to breathe.

I never forgot that story throughout my years and on a few occasions, I found myself reflecting heavily back on that story, Why did I Love that story so much? And why did Loving so hard seem to be a reoccurring theme for my life?

Sure, I was successful at giving my Love to others but sometimes it seemed like the people I knew seemed to have a special secret reserve on theirs. I saw them wanting to give Love and wondered what were they waiting for?

At times it seemed as though many of the people I met or let into my home, wanted so badly to give Love but yet seemed so frightened to do so, it seemed that they feared that if they gave Love away, they might lose it or get lost in it somehow.

But how can one be lost in Love? And when did we start fearing Love?

5 Life Long Lessons I’ve Learned About Love

1.) Opening Your Heart and showing Love to others is not a sign of weakness. It takes a really strong and stable-minded soul to courageously give Love.

2.)The best way to Love others is to Love yourself fully and the best way to Love yourself fully is to accept and respect your journey, irrespective to what anybody may think, say or feels about it. At the end it’s yours and you can spread as much Love as you want to. Have you ever met a person who complained about being Loved too much?

3.)If you feel hurt or drained from giving your Love to another then that person is not reciprocating Love back to you. The hidden reservoir of immeasurable Love that each of us have within us has the capability to give Love unconditionally without ‘running out’ or ‘trying to hard’.

4.)Love and yes expressing Love is your birthright and it is up to all of us to remember that we are temporary tenants in this life, given a fairly short amount time, Love is the least we can give back to life for all that it has given us.

5.)Love’s the Highest Honor and Dignity any soul can obtain and it’s the most valuable thing you can actually take with you when you leave your physical body. The greatest form of self-mastery is living a life in Love!

Giving Love for no reason in my personal experience is, has and always will be the very secret to that keeps our world turning.