Fill Your Love Bucket.
A Focus on Self-Love
It is the month of love, and if you live anywhere near me the month of freezing your creative fingers off.
Lets warm those fingers back up with some creative action! Guess what our focus will be on this month? Oh yeah, love. But let’s focus that love where we most need it, on ourselves. It is widely known that we women give and give and are hardest on ourselves. Self-care has become a popular term these days and rightly so. We can’t give and give when our “bucket” is empty. So in an effort to squeeze in some self-care during this month of love, and giving love to others, we are going to focus on ourselves while we give ourselves some art time.
I only have one activity for you this time. It can be a challenge for some, especially those that prefer not to focus on or even look at themselves. Here is a check list for what you need going into this exercise:
_ no multitasking
_ no picking yourself apart
_ no self improvement motives
_ an open heart and mind
_ some art supplies that make your heart flutter
_ a mirror?
We are going to create a self portrait (realistic, symbolic, or other) where our intention is to focus only on the things we love about ourselves. Now, before you run away or start thinking your list of things to love is too short let me explain why this self-love movement is so important.
• Greater Life Satisfaction
• Motivation for Healthy Habits
• Better Mental Health
• Reduction in Stress and Increase in Performance
• Better Able to Deal With Adversity
It is not a fix-all cure to have self-love. It is like everything else I promote - a tool to use for increased overall happiness. You practice self-love, you experience it and then use it to help you through life’s hurdles. It helps you find compassion and acceptance for yourself. It allows you to be imperfect while still trying to improve and achieve with much less stress and pressure. When you value yourself you want to take better care of yourself and see your dreams fulfilled. You will still have emotions that range from depression to joy and you will know that because you are human you can feel that full range and still be loving toward yourself and your experience. Most importantly you will pick yourself up and dust off after any adversity that comes your way because you trust yourself, and love yourself enough to keep going.
Do a simple meditation for a little grounding and focus on bringing love into your heart center. A simple technique is to just sit quietly, focus on your breath going in and out slowly. Then after a while, follow that breath into your heart in the center of your chest. Imagine a light that comes in with the breath and follows it to the heart where it gently grows larger and brighter. Imagine this is the light of universal love coming to fill you. See that light grow till it fills your whole chest, then it expands beyond your body, then it begins to fill the room. Now with this feeling of a huge love light that has surrounded you lets begin our creative project with the intention of creating a permanent home for that love in our hearts.
I started by choosing colors that I loved in that moment. Then I imagined what it would look like to be filled with constant love. My image was a silhouette of my body, with an oversized head. (Every time I would drift off into painting and wonder what to do next, I would focus on what would love feel like here, what color or shape feels like love now?)
Once I created a feeling of love in this self portrait I wanted it to be personal to me. I drew in the details of myself. I began to think of the parts of myself that I already love and included that parts of myself that I wanted to love. I’m not just talking physical self. My mental self, spiritual, parental, and business self were either in symbols or words or marks.
When you feel this love portrait of yourself is complete you will do some journaling on the process and thoughts to make it all connect back together.
Answer these journaling prompts for yourself.
• When or how do I feel the most love toward myself?
• What do I need to feel more loved and accepted that I can give to myself?
• What part of myself am I rejecting? Can I find a way to love or accept it?
This is a great exercise to come back to when you feel like you’ve lost yourself, or are having a little self loathing. You are always deserving of love. ALWAYS. Be sure to give some of that love to yourself as you go about your month.