Something’s Got To Give: 11 Ways to be Gentle with Yourself

Something’s Got To Give: 11 Ways to be Gentle with Yourself

When was the last time you gave yourself permission to stop what you were doing and just be gentle with yourself?

Lately, I’ve been feeling extra sensitive to external demands, an increased sense of urgency, and pervasive societal pressures all pushing me to do more, make more, be more – and frankly, it’s exhausting! I feel bombarded by the media, warning of the next economic meltdown, and an email inbox filled with messages enticing me to set bigger goals, grow my business and become a millionaire. If you work for someone else and/or have a family, I’m guessing your list of demands would easily double mine.

Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the cycle of trying to do too many things in too short a timeframe, without even realizing it – or stopping to take a breather.

As a recovering busy-ness addict, I’ve made a conscious choice to live a slower, simpler and more serene life. This is easier said than done. At times, I find my curious Aquarian self caught up in an inner struggle, trying to resist the unconscious urge to do more, learn more and keep up with ‘what’s new’ in our aspirational, technology-driven world.

This cycle of constant activity and drive is so rife in our culture that it almost seems normal. It’s not. It’s madness. [ Tweet this ]

I have to keep reminding myself of this basic truth to preserve my sanity and my health.

Last week, I began noticing the impact all of this was having on me – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – and I realized I needed to stop. And simply be gentle with myself.

As Wednesday was my birthday, I decided to take the day off, get a mani/pedi and enjoy being treated to tea and cake with Louise Ross – my dear friend, blogger and fellow Aussie living in Boulder. A Jungian psychologist with training in myth, dreams and astrology, conversations with Louise are never boring.

It is my belief that many of us are in tune to what’s going on in the world around us, albeit at varying degrees, depending on our level of awareness and acceptance of our intuitive nature. So I raised a question with Louise:

“Is it just me, or does the world feel even more stressful, harsh and intense for many people right now?”

Louise was quick to point out that yes, there is a greater set of energies currently playing out, which is having an impact on people universally.

There are many of us feeling the tensions of global issues without necessarily knowing why – with issues like:

  • The Economy: the markets are off to a shaky start to 2014, with rising fears and concerns that the economy is not as robust as people thought.
  • Extreme Weather: harsh weather conditions are causing arctic-type winters in the US, fires in Australia and flooding in the UK.
  • Astrological Shifts: major planetary cycles are underway and we’re heading toward a ‘Cardinal Grand Cross’ in April 2014, which typically causes tension and conflicts, that require change and resolution. As this date draws closer, it’s creating added stress for many, on an unconscious level.

Living in such tense, uncertain times, is it any wonder we might be feeling on edge and stretched to our limits – especially when these pressures start affecting our lives in other, more personal ways?

And, if we’re all connected – to each other, the planet and the Universe at large – are we reacting to what’s going on in the world around us? Or is the world reflecting our own collective inner turmoil and stress?

Lately, I’ve been speaking with several friends who are dealing with all kinds of concerns – family dramas, serious illnesses, road rage incidents, businesses facing the prospect of bankruptcy and broken-down relationships.

We can’t expect to keep soldiering through all these challenges, in a constant state of anxiety and pressure, without taking time out for us to regenerate. Often, we keep pressing forward, trying to ‘keep it all together’ for everyone and everything else, yet it’s us that can end up falling apart.

Something’s got to give. This is a time to be kind, gentle and compassionate with ourselves. [ Tweet this ]

Even though I’ve worked diligently to create space and balance in my life, I still pick up on the energies of other people and external situations. I discovered this recently, while working on a new project with a highly driven person, trying to meet demands that were challenging my personal boundaries, my values and the balance that I’ve worked hard to create in my life. Within a couple of days, I started being affected in negative ways. I began feeling chest pain, the sting of an annoying cold store flaring up on my lip and, ultimately, I became emotionally upset by the situation.

I was suddenly reminded of the blog post I’d written the previous week, where I shared how launching a blog (or any creative venture) is like having a baby, and how our job is to simply love, nurture and feed it – to allow it to grow and flourish.

How could I properly honor and meet this responsibility, if I continued to push myself and suffer miserably as I ignored my own needs?

I realized I needed to step out of the situation, take some time out to be gentle with myself and create space in my life, psyche and body.

To me, gentleness is compassion. I need to be kind to myself, connect with and nurture my natural, feminine side so that I can also have compassion for others when they are in a vulnerable state.

It was through being gentle with myself that I learned to become more feminine and receptive in order to attract the relationship I have today. [ Tweet this ]

We are all living through stressful times, which is why it’s even more important to take or MAKE the time to counter-balance this stress with some kind of spiritual practice that we turn up to, ideally every day.

When we support ourselves with gentleness, we can deal with life’s challenges in a healthier, more loving and compassionate way.

So, next time you’re having tense or anxious day, please be kind to yourself. Take some time out just for YOU to unplug, be quiet and gentle. You, those you love, and the world need it.

11 Ways To Be Gentle with Yourself

Make it a priority to allocate some uninterrupted “you time”. Plan a whole day or half day if you can. If not, then schedule a minimum of 2 hours doing something that feels deliciously decadent and allows you to check out from the stress. Here are some suggestions:

11WaystobeGentle

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10 Responses to Something’s Got To Give: 11 Ways to be Gentle with Yourself

  1. Louise Ross says:

    Great article Julie! Terrific reflections, insights and excellent tips; I’m sure many readers will enjoy this post for the reasons I’ve just mentioned. And thanks for linking to my blog post; there might be some insights there too, on making significant personal changes given the interesting astrological times in which we live.

  2. Great message Julie! We all need to love ourselves more. This is my favorite bit: “become more feminine and receptive in order to attract the relationship I have today” …a very important thing to highlight – glad you did – great reminder!

  3. Great message Julie! So many important points to reflect on and remember. This would be a great daily read. You certainly do ‘lead by example’! Love your authenticity and vulnerability in capturing these relevant truths.

  4. First of all, congratulations with your blog Julie! I have thoroughly enjoyed reading both your entries, and looking forward to the next.

    This blog brought up the following for me… the crazy business most of us get ‘dragged’ into, although it might be impacted by things around us, what is the underlying drive that hooks us?

    In my experience, with both myself and clients, is that the underlying belief is ‘I’m not good enough’. Most of us put high expectation on ourselves, think we have to do more, be more, achieve more – longing for recognition, belonging and love. But as you write, stopping up, reconnecting and being gentle and kind to ourselves, is so important to remember, especially for us sensitive souls. My personal little mantra today is: I’m enough!

    Love, Gitte.

    • Julie Bennett says:

      Lovely Gitte! I am so glad you are enjoying the blog. Thank you for your insightful response. So true, that underlying belief can immobilize so many of us, sensitive souls especially :) It sure had it’s way with me there for a while, and no doubt will again in the future :). Thank you for your sharing and insight. I am glad you were gentle and kind with yourself. Keep on shining! xo

  5. […] I learned how to stop being so hard on myself and start being more gentle and compassionate with myself and others. […]

  6. Nicki Anderson says:

    Amazing blog and so pertinent for today ! Planning to be gentle with myself this weekend AND guilt free. And, as going to get some positive energy via my friends. Yes, Groover, we are on to Skype. Loving the inspiration :)

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