There can be so much negativity and disappointment in life. Practicing loving-kindness can increase your well-being and make you more resilient. Dr. Amy Saltzman, a holistic physician and mindfulness coach says,
“Developing a kind heart and extending loving-kindness toward oneself is a potent antidote to repeated negative messages from Unkind Mind, peers, parents, other important adults, and the media…Because loving-kindness practice fosters self-compassion, it’s a powerful antidote to the repetitive negativity (143).”
To practice loving-kindness, Saltzman says to settle into a still, quiet place and think back on a time when you felt cared for or loved by someone. Remember the details of the moment and let the love fill you. She says to then think of someone you see often and practice sending care or love to that person (or animal) by “…silently (offering) a kind wish to the person, such as ‘May you be happy'” (145).
Repeat this sequence thinking of other people you love or even thinking of someone you are having difficulty with like your ex-best friend or your little sister.
You can also send love to yourself this way by saying “May I be happy.” And it can be even more powerful to add “just as I am” to your wishes.
“My I be happy just as I am.”
“May I be peaceful and at ease just as I am.”
You can apply this to aspects of yourselves that you dislike such as “May my hair be happy just as it is.”
It may feel silly to do this practice and that is okay, do it anyway!
Saltzman says to close by sending love to yourself and to the whole world and to feel all this love returning back to you (145).
What loving-kindness messages do you think would be powerful to send to yourself? Let’s sit quietly right now and send some loving-kindness messages to ourselves and to others. How do you feel afterwards? Is this something you think you could add to your daily routine?
Reference: A Still Quiet Place: A Mindfulness Program for Teaching Children and Adolescents to Ease Stress and Difficult Emotions. Amy Saltzman, MD