“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” -Dalai Lama
What’s the most loving thing you could do for yourself right now?
Most people look at me blankly when I ask them this, or there’s an erie silence on the phone.
“Ummm what do you mean?”
Then they go on to tell me how they have to; pick up the kids from school, go to work, or get a root canal, there’s no time to do anything else – there are other priorities.
And anyway, what they really want to do will take too much time/money/effort.
Other people just have no idea, its like I’ve asked them to say something in Chinese.
If you don’t know the answer to this question, that’s ok, it took me a while to get it too – I went blank and looked around for answers that I thought would sound impressive and enlightened to the person asking me the question. The RIGHT answer.
Why does this stump so many of us?
- Because we’ve been programed into thinking that to ask this question is rude/selfish/wrong/arrogant/self-centered, or whatever. It’s not. I know it’s not selfish, because when I do what’s most loving or nourishing for me, everyone around me seems to benefit from my actions.
- We’re not used to asking this question, and finding an answer is more about feeling into our own experience, rather than thinking about what options we have available to us – feeling rather than thinking is a radical idea for most of us westerners.
So what do I mean when I ask this question?
Asking yourself, “what would be most loving for me in this moment?” is a way to check in with yourself, to find out if you’re following your truth or someone elses. Most people assume, when I ask them what would be most nourishing for them, that I’m asking them to take a huge step, like, sell their house, start a business, leave a relationship, (something big and scary) or they start to say things like; get a massage, pedicure, or book a lunch date with the girls.
Lets start with the BIG steps, these may be the most nourishing loving things to do – but more often than not taking big steps like that only become the next obvious step (or not), to take, when you’ve taken lots and lots of smaller, self nourishing steps.
Getting a pedicure or a massage is a great idea and is a loving thing to do for yourself, but usually your true nature wants simple things in the moment, not grand gestures.
It’s about learning and remembering to return to your true nature, and asking yourself – What would most nourish me in this moment?
Want an example?
- I’m having a heated discussion with my friend, she’s really pushing me. I half want to punch her and tell her just to shut up, because what she’s saying is so annoying and obviously wrong to me, but the other half of me insists (to myself) that I hear her out, she might have a good point. Neither of these options feel nourishing to me, I’m very close to screaming or crying. What would be most nourishing for me in this moment, to create a space for myself where I can speak my truth to her. To tell her, “One day I’ll be ready to have this conversation with you, but I don’t want to talk about this stuff at the moment” – setting a clear boundary by being open, authentic and honest with her and myself. (FYI, what I actually did in this scenario was shut down, and shut up – leaving me pissed of with her, and pissed off with myself – it’s ok she knows all this and she’s still one of my best friends.) Hind sight is always 20-20!
- I’m driving home from the dentist, (no root canal this time thank goodness) and I notice I don’t want to go home yet, but I feel that I really should get home, it’s late afternoon, I’ve been out most of the day, and dinner isn’t even started, (I love my family they’re wonderful, but sometimes a girl needs a break – and lets face it the dentist isn’t exactly a break). So I ask myself what would be most nourishing to me in this moment – I take the turn off for the beach and watch the surf for the next hour in wordless silence.
You might ask yourself this question 50 times a day, or just once, or never – it’s totally up to you.
But the more often you ask, the better you’ll get at tuning into your truth. Once you know your truth, it’s hard to ignore, and even harder still not to do anything about.
Living your true nature becomes the next obvious step.
You start to shine brighter.
I love this process, because I get to know the real me. I get to show up and live for myself, letting go of all my high expectations of myself. Expectations like; I have to be the perfect friend, perfect wife, perfect mum, perfect coach.
I get to be the me who says “mmmmm that feels good – I’m gonna to do that”.
The best part is, when I do what’s most nourishing or loving for me, I can’t help but nourish my relationships and all those around me.
So, What would be most nourishing for you in this moment?