Do you like writing lists?
I'm list kind of gal. If I don't write it down it's like it doesn't exist. It goes into the same abyss that single socks falls into, or the black hole is that is the "lost and found" at my girls' school. Gone forever, never to be seen again. My girls are list writers too. They write ghost finding lists, friend lists, and Christmas lists each year.
Today I'm going to invite you to write a list, but before we get to that, let's chat a little more about gifts. I don't mean birthday or holiday gifts. I mean the little gifts we give to ourselves every day. These gifts come in the form of how you treat yourself, how you talk to yourself, how you think about yourself, basically, how well you take care of your relationship with yourself. This is a biggie people. This is yoga off the mat in so many ways.
Here's the thing.
We probably treat our best friend better than we treat ourselves. Would you tell your bestie you're going to do something with or for her, and then just not show up or not follow through? Would you tell her she's not enough, is never going to lose the weight, get the job, meet the right guy, or is a bad mom because she yelled at her kids once? Of course not! She's your best friend! You show up when you say you will. You listen with kindness and empathy. You encourage her to keep going, remind her of all the amazing qualities she has, and trust that she's got this, no doubt. You give her a lot of gifts when you do that.
It's time to start giving those gifts to yourself, too.
We inadvertently give ourselves gifts sometimes. Take a minute to think about all the gifts your past self gave to you that are in your life at the moment. Let me give you an example. My younger self finished college and moved to Minnesota for grad school, even though it was kind of scary and I didn't know anyone there. That same young me struggled with an eating disorder for a long time, but went to therapy, went to yoga, became a yoga teacher, and recovered from said disordered eating. She decided to take responsibility for her life and finally really be choosy about who she dated, really intentional about what she wanted out of a relationship. (Yes, I actually made a list of all the things I wanted in a guy/relationship, if you can believe it). All those decisions, all those gifts, led me to my life now, at 40. I've been married to a man I love for eight years. We've got two lovely little daughters. I'm still teaching yoga, now in a way that is aligned with my passions. I don't struggle with food, EVER.
To my 20-something self, THANK YOU for sticking it out and working through the struggles. I'd love to give you a humongous, juicy hug. You gave me some amazing gifts and you didn't even realize it.
In yoga there is a term Svadhyaya, meaning "self-study". It's another way to think about mindfulness, or living each moment intentionally. On a yoga mat this can be paying attention to your body's signs and signals in different poses, noticing what's happening with your breath, or observing the thoughts going through your mind. Off your mat you can bring that same level of awareness to your everyday life. Stepping back, observing your physical self, emotional self, and the thoughts in your head, gives you a lot of space to move. It allows to you to question, examine, and consciously, intentionally choose the gifts that you want to give yourself. This is also huge. Why?
I turned 40 this year. Now I'm thinking about the gifts I want to give my 50-year old self. Yep, that's ten years down the road. I kind of don't like to think about that yet, I mean it is 50, but I understand the value of doing so. It will allow me to give my future self all kinds of gifts if I pay attention NOW. So I pay a lot of attention to how I think about myself, how I talk to myself. I pay a lot of attention to how I feel about myself. I think about my future self, and what I want that life to look and feel like. I let myself dream and imagine.
I think about what I want to thank myself for in the future. I'd really like to thank myself for being fit, active, and able to keep up with my girls when they're teenagers and conquer some fourteeners here in Colorado with my hubby. I'd like to thank myself for finally starting the business I'd been thinking about for 13 years. I'd thank myself for investing in me so I had the skills to make that business successful. I'll thank myself for learning how to understand and feel my emotions so I'm not at the mercy of them. I'll thank myself for managing thoughts about my body so I'm not freaking out about getting older or going through menopause. I'd thank myself for cultivating an amazing relationship with myself, my friends, and my family. And I'd thank myself for drinking more water than anything else and eating healthy most of the time so I'm healthy most of the time.
I'm not sure if noticed, but most of these "gifts" aren't super sexy or even necessarily fun all the time. They are the little, daily choices we make that take us one step closer to our next version of ourselves, which we are always becoming. It's really easy not to make these choices thought, isn't it? It's really easy to run through the drive-through because the kids just got done with practice and you forgot to put something in the crock pot. It's easy to have a glass of wine to relax, and then let that turn into 2 or 3 glasses. It's easy to scroll social media or veg in front of Netflix and lose an hour or two of your day. It's easy to NOT go for the run, to avoid feeling difficult feelings, or not bother with attending to the negative thoughts about yourself in your head. They're true any way, right, so what's the point?
Taking care of yourself, tending to your relationship with yourself, is HARD! If it wasn't, we'd all be super self-actualized yogis meditating in an ashram somewhere. But, we're not. And, let's be honest, most of us don't want to be.
Most of us just want to be the best version of ourselves we can be.
You ready for that list? Here it comes.
Write a list of the things you'd like to thank yourself for 5-10 years from now. Write it all down. Doesn't matter how long the list is. Doesn't matter how crazy some of your ideas may be. Just write them down.
You can do that AND keep your future self in mind at the same time. Start to make her (or him) a priority, so much so that you intentionally and purposefully choose the gifts you want to give them NOW, in this moment, even though the pay off is further down the road. Choose to feel the urge to skip a run, but to go anyway because your future you will thank you for it. Choose to follow through with what you tell yourself you're going to do, because it means your future self will have a rock solid self-confidence. Choose to show up OFF your yoga mat with just as much awareness and attention as you do ON your mat, because you realize there isn't really any difference. It's all yoga. Choose the gifts you want to give yourself NOW that your future self will thank you for, and you will be in your present moment mindfully and intentionally.
1. Tell me in the comments one thing you want to thank yourself for in the future.
2. Tell me one gift you can give her now.
3. Stay tuned for next blog post, especially if you've got kids, your own or someone else's you've got a relationship with.
Until next week,
pssst! If you haven't already, make sure to subscribe to my blog so you don't miss another post! And, if you'd like some guidance with your yoga, on or off your mat, you can book private sessions with me.
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!