Tag Archives: self-love

Self-love Skill #2; NO.

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Self-love skill number two. Saying no appropriately.

Man, how I struggle with this one. There’s saying it, of course. Hard at times, almost impossible at others.

But before you can say no, you have to be able to feel into what you really really want. Yes or no. You have to be able to say, I’ll come back to you, I’ll think about it for a while.

You need to accept, appreciate and allow your preferences.

Then, you may need to calmly say no thank you. Sometimes forcefully.

So, the practice continues. 🙂

Oh, and what do self-love skills have to do with creativity? My current experience is that the more I make art, the more productive I am, the more time I need for empty space time, bupkis days, taking care of my needs. It’s all part of the whole of creative work. Although the final act of creation may be fast and expressive, what makes that possible is sometimes a lot of time spent incubating, ruminating and in general just containing different kinds of tension.

This means I need to carve out that time by saying no. A lot. Trust the process, trust the need for this time, trust myself.

Sometimes saying no to the outside world is saying yes to your own art, whatever its expression.

What can you say no to today, as a way of practising self-love?

Implemented Self-Love, One Illustration at a Time

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Look at yourself in the mirror with a loving gaze.

Back from Scotland and my adventures into the mystery of loving self.  Things keep getting more hectic here on our planet, more turbulent. I felt an updated skill set in caring for myself would be appropriate. I’m glad I did.

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Edinburgh was a beautiful place where it was easy to breathe deeply. I came back with lots of inner space and a collection of non-verbal, not yet painted experiences.

I’ve always thought loving ourselves is a pretty abstract concept. Easy to think and talk about, harder to practice. A quick google search seems to indicate it isn’t an easy concept generally speaking.

It seems to me, loving ourselves is something to be practised, day by day. This way it does increase, helping us to keep center in this ever-changing world of ours.

So while I’m painting my huge paintings around this theme, here in my studio, I thought I would ask my inner crew to give me something more tangible, that can be shared now.

I asked my friends: What is implemented self-love? Here’s the first illustration, T. and Fant style.

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What is implemented self-love for you, today?

Empath Stories: Self-Love During Changing Times

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The Untrained Empath: Feelings Are Good. Painted by Marie D. Tiger with watercolor 2014, 25x 16 cm. For sale: 370€ plus shipping, frame made to order.

This blog should have been written on Saturday, instead it incubated until today, Monday.

As an empath, I experience my feelings as both a blessing and a curse. The blast of them, while leading to great aliveness, is at times of imbalance, just way too much. Learning to discern which are mine and which aren’t, helps immensely.

I’m suspecting I’m not alone in saying that life has been full of changes lately. On Thursday, it was time to just rest, which I continued through the weekend. Today, Eren’s comment on my blog gave me the idea to write down self-love ideas that help me with self-care during these times of rapid change.

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What does self-love in action mean to you, in the midst of your changing life?

Jeans for a Curvaceous Body, No More Pinching

Which mold are you cramming yourself into, created in the thought book 2014 with markers.
Which mold are you cramming yourself into? Created in the thought book 2014 with markers, by Marie D. Tiger.

I’ve done this a thousand times. Fit myself into a pair of jeans that hug my legs but leave the rest of me desperately crying out for space or at least a bit of stretch. Finding a high enough waist band to lovingly envelope my curves has been a challenge I haven’t taken time for. So I’ve settled to being pinched, cramped and tied up in discomfort, for the benefit of long looking legs.

Molding myself according to expectations of others is a similar experience. Although it may seem easier, the pain of pushing myself into a default template is ongoing. And just like my muffin top is visible, no matter the kind of sack I wear for a blouse, nobody is fooled by me squeezing myself into the cast of normal/perfect/whatever.

Search for perfection, water color in the thought book 2013, by MDT.
Search for perfection, water color in the thought book 2013, by MDT.

And why is it so scary? I don’t know about you, but for me it is frightening to connect with that part of me that flows over, that needs, that reacts in intense and unpredictable ways, the places that need compassion, acceptance, time. To not cram it into yet another corset, tight belt or behind the mask of a smile.

But to listen. To experience. To see what is.

This week, I’m starting with my body. I bought a pair of jeans with a wide, high waist. Comfy and soft. At the same time I’m letting my feelings roll, jump, hide, run, dig tunnels, whatever. There’s space here, both for a soft belly and whatever sort of feelings that life awakens.

Is there a template in your life that you’ve outgrown and/or are ready to bust out of? If you would surround yourself with tender care and deep acceptance, what would your next step be?

 

 

 

 

A Tale of Self-Pity and Compassion

I woke up at four a.m.

Fifth morning in a row.

My little daughter had a fever.

Again.

This meant no day care for her, no working for me and a dilemma of how to get firstborn to and from school.

My husband sent me the following picture from his trip to Cape Verde, where he is, alone.

Cape Verde, detail, by Engineer.
Cape Verde, detail, by Engineer.

My to do list is two pages, written with font 10.

Do I manage to convey the enormity of my pity party this morning, at all?

The icky, slimy bug of self-pity started hissing in my ear. Thought by thought, my energy faded away. Powerlessness started seeping into my muscles. My ability to receive any nourishment from interactions with my kids or with my friends and family started receding, until I could feel the slippery frosting of self-pity, coating me from head to toe.

Now, rationally I know self-pity is an attempt to defend myself against overwhelm, expectations and demands. On an emotional level, it’s another story.

The thing is, while self-pity may feel like relief, or like self-love – it’s anything but. It shifts the locus of power on the outside of ourselves, puts us in the back seat of our lives.

Of course, the row of set backs continued. My friends couldn’t help with getting firstborn to school, the taxi driver was rude, there was less money on my account than I remembered, my website crashed… It wasn’t until I had sent my website provider an e-mail to ask for help, and they responded they couldn’t and I just had to google the answer, that I remembered Veronica Torres’ tool: “How ridiculous does it have to get?”.

 

What else would have to happen, until I took responsibility for my own thoughts and feelings.

Ah, well. I asked myself what would take me closer to self-compassion and loving myself in the moment. After a shower, a glass of water and a loving discussion with my daughter, I came back to the computer and easily updated the theme of my website. Now she’s sleeping and I’m feeling happy for the frolicking Engineer again.

I drew this picture to remind myself that there is a better way than self-pity. What would take you one step closer to self-love and self-compassion today?

Self-pity is not your friend, by Marie D. Tiger 2014.
Self-pity is not your friend, by Marie D. Tiger 2014.

 

 

 

 

What Do You Need Today, to Love Yourself?

 

I love me, thought book 2013, by MDT.
I love me, thought book 2013, by MDT.

I painted the first version of this picture on a t-shirt, almost twenty years ago. That was the year I put in an ad on a newsboard [on text-tv, laughing at that a bit now], so I could find out the truth about men. Were they simple beings who could not think, as my mom was fond of saying, or was there something more out there? My soulfriend, the Engineer who would become my husband many years later, bought the t-shirt with this turtle on. He wore it everywhere. The memory still makes me smile.

In addition to musing over that memory, I have been reading and translating parts of this important book about self-harm for a youth project I work in. The book is written compassionately and the text validates the inner reality of anyone who self-harms. Punishment in order to dissolve feelings of shame and guilt, search for emotional relief, making emotional pain clearer and more tangible are just some of the functions that self-harm can have. Most often, in our outcome directed, fast-paced world, an understanding for inner phenomena is lacking. Not so in this book.

Loving ourselves is a skill that is learned when our needs and feelings are heard and responded to, when we see people close to us love themselves and take care of their own needs responsibly, when we can express what is inside and have that received. It is never too late to start learning this skill and building habits that support loving self.

What do you need right now?

 

 

 

These Days

I am watching the car lights disappear.
These days I know nothing. I write trivial stuff.
These days I sit down my fears on the porch of my mind. We
sit and watch the weather change, some days we go
and get a blanket or two. Then we sit again.

These days there is a hunger around my heart. I write.
The hunger devours me. I mourn the death that is needed for new life.
I mourn that I looked at the railways with dark desire today.
This yearning is not meant to be soothed. I sit in my heart and understand.
I would rather close my eyes. I don’t.
I sit in my heart and understand.

Sanity turned out to be the old woman
with stinking breath and eyes of wonder.

I love myself much these days.