Monday, January 3, 2011

Self-Acceptance in the New Year

If you'd  like to be kinder to yourself in 2011, please join me in my new online course: 

"Coming Home to Ourselves"

It's a self-paced, 5-Lesson course, based on my book, Coming Home to Ourselves: A Woman's Journey to Wholeness which just happens to be out of print, by the way—so I thought I'd create a course around it!

This focus is where my work began with women in 1994. I did so and wrote this book because I was really struggling with life balance myself. I was sick, overwhelmed, and just plain tired of the "SuperWoman" trap.

I am very excited about presenting this material in online course. It offers practical strategies, along with positive encouragement, to guide us toward a slower pace of life, and a deeper connection to our true selves and the Sacred. It is a guided journey toward wholeness, including steps to "Nurture the Body," "Feed the Mind," and "Enrich the Spirit."

This course is ideal for anyone who is trying to break free from the "Superwoman" trap, mothers, caregivers, women in the helping professions, women challenged with cancer or chronic illness. This course is based on my personal struggle with, and victory over, stress-related illness, as well as my work with hundreds of women over the years in workshops and retreats who have been similarly challenged. (The program presented in the text has been recommended by University of Chicago Hospitals, Oncology Support Services.)

5 Life-Altering Lessons with audio components, a workbook (with exercises and journaling prompts), and an interactive forum with your classmates! 

The focus is on identifying how and why you may have resistance to caring for your whole and "holy" self, then removing those obstacles. This is done by developing a new of understanding of how your unique body, mind, and spirit work together—by listening to their wisdom—then exploring and implementing new practices that promote inner harmony.

The first Lesson will be posted January 17, and you can begin on that day, or any time after that.

The course is self-paced. You go at your own speed and pick up your Lessons when you wish.

I'd love to join you in this very special journey toward wholeness!

Love and blessings,

“Experience self-acceptance deep within, in every part of your body, mind and spirit. 
Be at ease; you have a right to your place in the universe.”
-Karen Katafiasz

The promise of a new year offers limitless opportunities to us. What often jumps to the forefront of our minds is, how can I change my life for the better? How might I change to become a better person? The pressure is on to adopt New Year’s resolutions that come wrapped in many different guises. We hope to lose that last five pesky pounds, or find a better job; bring more passion into our love relationship, or let go of a long time grudge. Many such intentions are wonderful, and yet, some it feels as if we may be negating ourselves, admitting we are “less than,” which can tend to make us feel woefully inadequate, as if we must constantly strive to be better individuals.

Granted, I am an enormous proponent of personal growth. That is my passion as well as my profession. But there comes a time in each person’s life when issues of self - acceptance need to be looked at and we must ask ourselves, when am I good enough? When do I stop striving to be more than I am now and sink into the depths of my own self-love.? When do I come to a place of loving myself enough to stop striving to be someone other than who I am?

Thus, my propostion to you for New Year’s 2011. Let's take a closer look at taking the steps toward our own radiance, or as author Sarah Ban Breathnach (of Simple Abundance fame) calls it “our authentic self.”

Often this process begins when we become aware of our self talk. What are the very subtle messages we are sending to ourselves as we strive to “be more?” They may involve body image (“I am fat.”), our capabilities, (“I am not smart enough.”), or qualities (“I am such a forgetful person.)” Negative thought patterns such as this may seem, on one level, to be motivators to move us to a grander version of ourselves, when actually they may be stunting our growth. They may be invalidating who we are deep inside, thus making us feel even more inadequate. Self acceptance does not come from statements or thought patterns such as these.

We may also become aware in this uncovering process where some of this negative self-talk may have originated. As children we may have heard, directly or indirectly, that we were fat, less than intelligent, or forgetful. Hearing someone else’s perception of us often leaves an indelible mark, convincing us on some level that we are indeed those things. Repeated usage over time literally brands its imprint onto our psyches.

I am thinking of my friend, Emma, who illustrates this very well. Emma was raised in a belittling household. She was constantly told how inept she was; that the only hope for her was to find a man, get married and have children. She wasn’t smart enough to hold down an important job. So, that is exactly what she did. As an adult, when her children left the nest, she felt compelled to get out into the workforce. She applied for several jobs that she felt truly excited about. One day, she happened to mention to her mother that she was job hunting. Her mother’s reaction to her good news was, “What in the world are you doing that for? You know you will never get hired.” Emma bought into her mother’s invalidation once again. It stopped her dead in her tracks. She never went out the door to job hunt again.

If we can objectively look at our negative self talk and perceptions, and how they may have formulated, we can begin to sort the wheat from the chaff, uncovering the beauty of our own true self from what we may have been taught or heard from others. The road to self - acceptance is not an easy one, but the first step must begin with us. It begins as we learn to take charge of ourselves. It continues when we can toss the false labels we put on ourselves and begin to look into the mirror of our own uniqueness.

One of the tools I find helpful is to use affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements of belief we can say to ourself which reinforce positive behavior or outcomes. It is much more than wishful thinking, as some would claim it to be. Affirmations can help us to focus our positive intentions and mental energy on our own healing process.

Examples of positive affirmations we could use for our body image would be, “I love and honor my body. I serve my body well by eating healthy, nutritious food.” Now, doesn’t that sound and feel better than, “I am fat”?

Repeating these messages out loud or writing them in a journal creates a positive mindset. We then move toward that place of acceptance. The opposite is also true. If we harbor thoughts of being overweight, unintelligent or forgetful (as in our examples above), we move in that direction as well.

Affirmations do not work their magic overnight. Studies show that any significant change in behavior or belief takes up to 21 days to take hold. For issues held at a much deeper core level, it may take even longer (and in some cases, require professional assistance) Change in attitudes of self-acceptance may be a lifelong journey for you, as it is for many of us. Our woundedness and feelings of inadequacy go very deep and in many cases, have completely paralyzed us, holding us hostage to hurtful words and actions of the past. The point is that each one of us is capable of freeing ourselves from the restraints that keep us from living the beauty of who we are, just as we are.

This January, instead of New Year’s resolutions, why not adopt New Year’s affirmations? My hope for all of us in 2011 is that we will cast aside any self-limiting beliefs that may still imprison us, and that we continue walking the road toward personal freedom. As we hike the hilly terrain of self-validation, we can hum this mantra:

“Self-acceptance is mine, one step at a time.”

©2010, Janice Lynne Lundy


Dearest Soul Friends,

My heart is happy dancing today. After dreaming and planning and putting in lots of mind, heart and elbow grease, our new web community, Buddha Chick™ is finally open. Triple yay!

Will you please stop by and see what we've been working on?

Buddha Chick™ is a membership community dedicated to serving women who desire to live cool, calm, clear, and wise. There's a public portion of the site and a private social networking, classroom-based community which enables women to dive deep and fly high with confidentiality and unconditional support. The site is rooted in the practices of meditation, mindfulness, and Metta (loving-kindness).

Just a few minutes there and I'm hoping you'll be feelin' the Love, too!

Thanks and blessings and Chickie love to you all!


(Image courtesy of David Trood)

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