When you are loving to yourself, you care for the earth.
One way of taking care of yourself is by listening to your inner voice. A person may be completely unaware that they have an inner voice, and even deny that they have one, but everyone has an inner voice.
Your inner voice is the dialogue you have with yourself about yourself. Your inner voice may congratulate or condemn you. It may tell you that you are beautiful or that you are unattractive. It may cheer you on, or discourage you. Upon reflection of something you’ve done, your inner voice may tell you it was a job well done, or that it was not good enough.
One of the ways you can tell if your inner voice is helpful is by what it tells you about your body. Reflect for a moment, right now, on what you think about your body; about your appearance, weight and shape.
A positive inner voice tells you that you are beautiful and your body shape is just as it should be. It tells you that you are worthy of care and respect for the simple reason that you exist. A positive inner voice allows you to rest comfortably in the beauty of your body rather than compare yourself to others or to some ideal.
A negative inner voice tells you that some part of your body is flawed. It tells you that you are too fat or too thin, too short or too tall. It may tell you that you are unattractive without makeup or working out, or that you are too old or not athletic enough. The media and cultural mores reinforce your negative body image, making it hard not to believe your negative inner voice.
It would be nice if changing your inner voice were as easy as making up your mind to do so, but for most people, this is not so. Like most people, your inner voice arises without your active choice and often without awareness of its arising. If you find that your inner voice has unkind things to say to you about your body.
There are three steps you can take to become kinder towards yourself, which will extend into kindness towards others and the planet.
The first step is called noting. Noting is the simple act of noticing when your inner voice has spoken. Each time you note, you are developing your awareness of your inner voice. You can do this by noting whenever you hear the things your inner voice says, with a sentence such as, Oh, there’s my inner voice saying such and such. Noting does not entail judging yourself for what your inner voice says. If you find yourself condemning yourself for the things the inner voice says, then note that too. Noting also does not entail trying to change your inner voice. If you find yourself changing how you talk to yourself, such as by saying nice things about yourself, note that too. Noting is simply what it is.
The second step is talking to someone about your inner voice. For this step, it is important to talk with someone who does not judge you. It is also important that the person you talk to cares about you, is interested in what you are observing about your inner voice, and in what you are thinking and feeling about this. This person may be a friend or therapist, a sponsor or a group, or another person in your life. If your inner voice tells you you should harm yourself or others, then it may be a sign of clinical depression or other mental illness. If you think this may be the case for you, talk to your doctor.
The third step is to develop a habit of saying the most loving and supportive things you can think of to yourself. Do this every day, several times a day. It helps to tie this habit to others. Say nice things to yourself when you brush and floss your teeth, eat, drink something, and go to the bathroom. Say nice things when you get up in the morning and when you go to sleep.Use statements that touch your heart. These are statements for you alone. You may use a childhood nickname or a pet name you wish you had, followed by sweet and loving words. To find the right statements for you, you may recall the loving things a parent said to you or loving things you wish they had said. If you find it easy to say encouraging things to others, saying the same thing to yourself may be the right statement for you. At first, these statements may feel strange. You may not believe them. You may feel shame. If so, note these thoughts and feelings, and continue to say these loving statements to yourself.
As you increase your awareness of your inner voice, as you talk about your inner voice, and as you habitually say positive things to yourself throughout your day, you will gently and slowly change how your inner voice talks to you. By taking these steps on a daily basis - as best you can - you will eventually find your inner voice saying positive things on its own. When this occurs, praise yourself. Sometimes you may find negative things creeping back into your inner voice, particularly when things are hard in life. When this happens, talk with someone about what is happening in your life and what your inner voice is saying.
As your inner voice becomes kinder, you will find that you take better care of yourself, have more compassion for others, and have greater capacity for caring for the planet. For example, if today you think that people are the problem and the planet would be better off without humans, you may find a shift in your thinking. You may come to see that you, like every other being, are a part of nature and have a place on this planet. You may come to see that preserving nature and protecting the environment is an extension of the love and care you give yourself.
Botox is localized botulism that is often used in the forehead to paralyze your muscles so you lose its wrinkles. You may look great with a little Botox but it could be costing you your happiness.
One of the effects of Botox is a loss of empathy and compassion. Empathy is the ability to understand how someone is feeling. Compassion is the ability to see when someone is suffering and do something to help them. Our capacity for empathy is connected to our capacity to mirror emotions. If eyes are the mirror to the soul, eyebrows and the crinkles and wrinkles around the eyes are the mirrors to emotions. Eyebrows and those little crinkles and wrinkles around the eyes are a hot spot for micro expressions.
Without conscious knowledge, you are able to pick up if a person is happy, sad, stressed, or frightened by the tiny signals they send when their eyebrows spread slightly apart, or dip down toward each other, scrunch together and lift up or spread to either side. You are able to pick up another person's feeling not because you think; oh their eyebrows are scrunched this way or that but because your face naturally mirrors theirs, which conveys to your mind and heart what they are feeling.
Botox prevents you from mirroring another person's expressions, which can cause you to lose clues about how those around you are feeling. It also prevents you from true expressions of your feelings. The reason it is so important to have empathy has to do with relationships.
The most important thing to happiness is relationships. The famous Harvard study that followed people across a lifetime tell us that a good relationship is key to a happy life.
And what is friendship for - whether with your life partner or anyone else? Most often people will say to have someone who understands you and will be there in the tough times. In other worlds, to have someone who has empathy and compassion to turn to in bad times and good. Botox robs a person of the ability to discern the small moments or things just under the skin, and so steals away a myriad of little opportunities to connect and show care and love to another.
So if you feel drawn to Botox or any of its kind to smooth out those wrinkles in your face, consider this: maybe those wrinkles are a good thing. Maybe they are there to say I care and I value how you are feeling, and my own feelings.
Posts written by the People of the Happiness Alliance & our Friends.