So many times, when we think about our strengths and shortcomings, our inner critic is quick to take over. In these moments, the art of loving ourselves is usually the last thing on our minds. Instead of approaching ourselves with mindfulness and care, we can ruminate about past mistakes, stress over future concerns, or count the many ways we wish our lives were different.
Often, these types of worries not only eat away at our sense of self-worth and success, but keep us from appreciating the here and now. (Worry itself has been compared to rocking ceaselessly back-and-forth in a rocking chair. Which, as we all know, never takes you anywhere.)
Think about it: When, if ever, are you truly in the present? What if you could embrace where you are right now?
The Importance of Doing Things You Love
This is one reason I really love my motorcycle rides. Every trip does entail some advance planning—checking the weather, gathering up equipment, and deciding where I want to go.
Since I haven’t been riding much these past two years, I signed up for a ‘slow skills’ class in New Hampshire to brush up on some biking techniques. I was planning a summer trip to Colorado, and I know how important it is to have confidence in both riding and controlling your motorcycle.
But once I’m on my bike, the ‘rules of the road’ propel me toward an altogether different mindset. Riding a motorcycle is meditative; you have to be in the moment. And I’ve discovered it’s a wonderful place to be! Hours can go by and it literally feels like minutes.
Of course, I have to be in constant ‘scan’ mode, assessing the risks and foreseeing what different situations might come up on the road. For instance: Is that kayak really secure on the car in front? What about that bike on a bike rack? What’s my escape plan if it came loose?
I also have to check my mirrors and be aware of who’s in back of me. Are they speeding up or staying far behind? On two wheels, you have far less reaction time than you do when driving a car. Plus, the wind created by other cars can be very strong. If a car moves too closely in my lane, it creates a powerful challenge to handle my motorcycle comfortably.
Yet none of these challenges take away from the thrill of being truly in the present. Experts call this a state of mindfulness...the experience of keeping our mental focus on the here-and-now.
How Mindfulness Helps Us Embrace Self-Love
Being mindful means being curious, open to our surroundings, and—maybe most importantly—non-judgemental. When we’re being mindful, we’re not focused on a relationship problem or next week’s deadline. Instead, we’re appreciating all that this particular moment has to offer.
For me, riding a motorcycle automatically puts me in a more mindful state. Everything I encounter on the road is new, and having a mindful outlook helps me savor the experience in a new way. In fact, behavior experts say the art of embracing where you are right now can help you cultivate the art of loving yourself.
We’re already our own best self—we just don’t recognize that within us.
Allowing yourself to be curious, and putting the brakes on negative self-judgment, are elements of mindfulness that can help you appreciate you, so you’re able to better navigate whatever comes along in life.
How Mindfulness Impacts Your Money
When it comes to money, there’s a tendency to re-live whatever we experienced in the past. Did you grow up in a family where nobody talked about money with friends and family? Where cash was always in short supply? Where a high salary was considered a form or status, and financial reversal a cause for shame? Without realizing it, we may internalize those powerful early messages. And they can affect how we spend and invest.
Just as you need to be ‘in the moment’ to make your way down a new highway, you’re best served by bringing that same kind of mindfulness to financial matters. Understand the past, but don’t let it have a negative influence on the choices you make today. Assess what you can about the future, but don’t let yourself be paralyzed with worry. Think of mindfulness as a gift you give yourself – the best kind of self-love, and an art worth cultivating.
If you are interested in joining one of our Conversation Circles and want to learn more about mindset and money, get in touch with me here.