A four-step contemplation to help you cultivate authentic self-acceptance.
- Take a moment to send your attention to your heart. If you like, you could put your hands over your heart, or anywhere on your body you find to be comforting and soothing.
- Take a few deep slow breaths all the way into your belly.
- Stay connected in the present moment, and repeat the following phrases to yourself, either internally or out loud, with the kindness and care you'd offer a loved one:
- I am safe
- I am at ease
- I am kind to myself and accept myself as I am
- I am filled with peace and joy
The first phrase, I am safe, is designed to bring attention to the idea that in this present moment you are safe. (If you are in immediate danger, more direct action). Often we allow ourselves to become distracted by fear. We get caught up in disaster fantasies about the future or in challenging memories of the past. You can break that cycle by truly being aware in this moment and repeating the phrase, I am safe. Breaking this pattern of anxiety about the past or future can help us begin to develop the habits of feeling more safe and reducing rumination.
The second phrase, I am at ease, is also designed to reinforce the idea that in this present moment if you're safe you can be at ease; at ease psychologically, physically, and in spirit. At any given time we may feel discomfort on various levels. However, if we put intention into having a positive mindset of being at ease it can help move us into a consistently more comfortable state. As we practice authentically saying I am at ease, our reality begins to shift in that direction.
The third phrase, I am kind to myself and accept myself as I am, can be difficult at first. But the adage of "fake it 'til you make it" truly is effective. It can be easy to extend kindness to loved ones, but even if it feels difficult, begin to extend the same kindness to self. The kinder we are to ourselves the more internal resources we have. This in turn allows us to extend kindness to others without burning out or feeling depleted. Self-acceptance is critical to living a content and peaceful life.
The last phrase, I am filled with peace and joy, is designed to remind us of how delightful life can be. It is an affirmation or aspiration filled with hope.
As you begin practicing these phrases, if you notice resistance, consider using May I be as a prefix to each phrase: If necessary, practice these phrases as an aspiration. Eventually you will become comfortable saying them as an affirmation.
- May I be safe
- May I be ease
- May I be kind to myself and accept myself as I am
- May I be filled with peace and joy
As you move into an authentic and comfortable state of mind with these phrases, you may also choose to practice compassion by holding others in mind and saying for them: Practice these phrases regularly, in times of contentment and times of challenge. As they become second nature, developing authentic self-acceptance becomes a helpful tool to connect us with the present moment as well as calm troubled states of mind and heart.
- May you be safe
- May you be ease
- May you be kind to yourself and accept yourself as you are
- May you be filled with peace and joy