June 2, 2019

In happiness skills and practices there is a lot of talk about self-love because without it, you’re not going to be happy. It’s really that simple. 

You can walk in figure eights, breathe, meditate, practice letting go and any array of other happiness skills, but without loving, supporting and accepting yourself whole and as you are, you’re not going to get to peace, ease and happiness.  

This topic goes to the inner critique, the little voice of the saboteur that sends messages loud or barely discernible that in some way, you are not enough; that there’s something you should do better, do more, do less, change, and on and on that voice will chatter.

With this happiness skill and practice we are going to invite that little voice to go into retirement, as it is no longer of any value to you. I suggest a conversation that goes something like this, “I hear you and I know you think I need you, but I don’t anymore. I want you to move on now because I need the space you’ve been taking up for the self-love and acceptance that I am growing for my happiness. You have been in the way of that for a long time, so I bow to you in acknowledgement for the time we’ve spent together, and I release you and let you go. Bye bye!” 

I am a very big fan of card decks. They offer lovely and attractive presentations of words to affirm, uplift and guide you every day. In Say Yes to Happiness, a Handbook for Life, there is an exercise for listing everything you like and value about yourself. Here we are going to put a little different twist on that. I invite you to get your journal, a notepad or paper and let’s do this: make a list of what you love, enjoy, are secretly or openly proud of about yourself. Put on this list all manner of things large, small, normal, unusual, and uniquely you that you love and value about yourself. This can include something you did or said, the way you put your outfits together, the way you leave your desk at the end of the day, or how you make toast in the morning. It can be kindnesses you do, thoughts you think, dreams you have, stuff you feel like you’re good at. There will likely be things on this list that you’ve never said out loud, and this is exactly the place to put them.

Now go for it! Write those lists. The next part of the exercise is to get notecards, post it note pads, computer cards to print, or giant pieces of post it wall paper. Then with a favorite pen, colored markers or whatever you prefer to write with, put one item from you list on each piece of paper or card. Now you have your custom designed deck to use each day as an inspirational reminder of the ways you value yourself. You might prefer to put one a day up on the wall, on your mirror or in your car. Really anywhere you can think of. It’s also fun to schedule them as pop-up reminders in your phone. If you enjoy being creative, you might make these colorful with varying shapes. If you enjoy linear looking things, then keep them neat and simple.