“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ~ Buddha
We began the week celebrating the ways that love is alive and abundant in the world around us. As we come to the close of our seven days, how can we love ourselves with the same intention and generosity with which we’re trying to love the world? While extending love to oneself may not always be easy, it’s essential. By granting ourselves the compassion, forgiveness, and care that we offer to others, we actually expand our capacity to love.
Today’s practice is an invitation to love yourself. If loving others and the world involves wholehearted presence, intentional listening, and outward expressions of gratitude, loving oneself calls for the same. It’s easy to imagine this as a lifelong learning process. Just as loving others and the world comes with ease on some days and difficulty on others, so too does loving ourselves. And just as loving others and the world brings meaning, joy, and healing, so too can the love we grant ourselves.
On this closing day of the practice, we invite you to begin with a few moments of silent reflection, centering your love, care, and intention not on the world around you but on yourself. Simply sit quietly, holding the unique presence of you, your energy, and your life with generosity and loving-kindness. What does it feel like to extend this tenderness toward yourself? What arises in your heart? What softens?
If you are moved to express this love outwardly, here are a few ideas:
- Write yourself a letter of gratitude, appreciation, and love. This can be for your eyes only, for your own heart.
- Set a timer to go off every hour today, and pause to do something that nourishes you: make tea or coffee, sit for a short meditation, call a friend, make an appointment you’ve been too busy to make, or simply take a break from obligations to breathe and get centered. See how these short, loving pauses throughout the day shift your energy.
- And if you struggle at times today to extend compassion or forgiveness to yourself, try being as generous with yourself as you would be with someone you love dearly.
Mostly, be easy with yourself, and trust that loving yourself is an essential root of all other love.
Share Your Reflection: We invite you to share your reflection about today’s practice or any overarching reflections about your experience throughout the week. Thank you so much for choosing to be part of this practice and for the love that you each bring to the world. We’re grateful to be in community with you.
- Grateful for Nourishment, A Short Essay by Alex Elle
- Columbine: A Survivor’s Story of Powerful Self-Love, A Short Essay by Nada Alami
Image: Each day of our Grateful for Love practice includes an image of love as expressed through street art. Today’s Photo: Nick Fewings/Unsplash