Practicing what I preach, everyday I have stood in front of the mirror (usually in my pjs, like so), put my hand on manipura chakra, the solar plexus, energy center for self-worth and repeated three times out aloud -
'I am worthy, I deserve, I love and approve of myself.'
'I take care of my needs so I can then take care of the needs of others.'
To begin with, I felt somewhat uncomfortable. I read the words off a blu-tacked sheet of paper that I stuck on the mirror and sounded quite silly (I'm sure my partner would agree)! Regardless of these feelings and thoughts I had about myself or about what I thought others would think of me, I persisted and each day I continued with the practice.
To begin with I would gaze into my eyes and say these words as thoughts of disbelief and criticism entered my mind. 'You need to exercise more, look at the bags under your eyes, you don't have time to do a yoga nidra today.' How cunning, powerful and baffling the mind can be. Sometimes I would get entangled in the thoughts but more often than not, as I practiced, I could distance myself and see the thoughts for what they are - fluctuations of the mind.
Without pushing the thoughts away or pretending that they're not there, I acknowledged them and continued to repeat my affirmations. What I noticed after a week of practice was the old tapes and limiting beliefs of the mind began to lessen. The power of my dis-serving thoughts started to loose their grip. After two weeks of practice I really believed what I was saying and after three weeks these affirmations were Truth. Rather than a mere idea, or words on paper spoken out aloud, these beliefs emanate from within. When I say them I feel my body respond. As though my cells rejoice and my heart sing with joy. It feels good, really good.
This practice has left the bathroom mirror and I now find myself repeating these affirmations throughout the day and when my mind tells me otherwise.
I have been telling myself 'I love myself' when I open the wardrobe and see my jeans that don't fit and saying 'I approve of myself' when I'm seeking validation from another.
To me, this is really what yoga is all about. Connecting to Truth.
By no means is my life a bunch of roses, and I may always have thoughts that judge, criticize and condemn, but today, I can say with confidence and conviction, I am on the path to Knowing Thy Self.
I wholeheartedly recommend you give this practice a go. Even if, like me, you think it may be silly, not for you, or even a waste of time. Go beyond the monkey mind and be empowered in getting yourself, your True Self!