This week, Diwali is coming up on Saturday. Diwali is the Indian Festival of Light, celebrating the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and truth over ignorance. I love the idea of light prevailing over darkness, but I think that sometimes, when we bring that idea into ourselves, we have trouble accessing that inner light.
Sometimes, when I am in that dark place, maybe a place of sadness or feeling overwhelmed, I must remember that I know how to access the light… or I can get lost in the darkness. One way that I access my own inner light is to show myself compassion.
What is self-compassion? It is being nice to yourself when you feel down. Okay. You get it. But, how can you actually practice self-compassion? Here are some techniques that I have gathered in my own practice and study.
- Self-kindness. How can you be kind to yourself? Think about what you would say to someone else who is feeling the way you are or dealing with the same thing you are. How would you help your friend if they were in the same place that you are? Okay, now say that to yourself. It’s like your own personal pep-talk. Sometimes, I find it easier to help a friend out than to be kind and help myself. Thinking about my issues this way helps me get a little perspective so that I don’t feel so bad.
- All people go through things. Think about all of the other people in the world. Humans go through hard times. There is bound to be someone else out there going through something similar to you. If this is too expansive for you, think about someone that you admire or look up to. They make mistakes, too. They go through hard times, too. You are not alone.
- Being Mindful. Take a pause and breathe. Practice meditation and notice what you are feeling. Then think of that as floating away from you or put it in an imaginary box to be dealt with later. If it is an experience you are having trouble letting go of, you can also think about it as happening in the past, and you are in the present.
Try these techniques and see if they help you out of the darkness so that you can let your own light shine through. Then celebrate you! You are unique and beautiful and a gift to those that know you. Shine on! When you allow yourself to shine from within, others might notice and also feel like they can allow their own light to shine, too.
May you have peace within.