Offering Loving-Kindness to Yourself

In order to be giving, we need to be nourished. This practice is about learning to check in with yourself and to do so with love.

My name is Andy Gonzalez, and I’m from the Holistic Life Foundation. Today we’re going to try a loving-kindness meditation—this is where you get to direct all that good energy back to yourself.

We can spend a lot of our time reaching out to other people and trying to help others. But in order to be giving, we need to be nourished ourselves. So today’s practice is about learning a technique to remind you to check in with yourself and to do so with love. It’s understandable, and necessary sometimes, to place ourselves on a kind of back burner. This practice will help you get back in touch with yourself and help you refill your tank.

Loving-Kindness for Ourselves

Watch the video:

Listen to the practice:

Loving-Kindness for Ourselves

  • 12:00

Read the practice:

  1. Let’s get into a comfortable seated position. Ideally, your head, neck and spine align. Feel your feet ground on the floor. If you feel comfortable doing so, I welcome you to close your eyes.
  2. Begin by breathing at our own pace. Find a nice, comfortable pace, and breathe in and out of your nose. Remember as you inhale, really try to focus on breathing from your diaphragm. So, breathe in through your nose, pushing your stomach out as air comes in. And with every exhale, pull your stomach in, helping to push out that air.
  3. Inhale cleansing breath and exhale stress. With every inhale, visualize and feel the healing oxygen coming into your body, cleaning your blood. With every exhale, focus on how all that stale CO2 is headed out, along with any stress or worries or anxiety.
  4. Feel your body relaxing with each breath. Feel your mind slowing with each breath. Maintain that comfortable breathing pace.
  5. Now we’re going to use our imaginations. You’re beginning a journey into your heart, and inside your heart is a beautiful cave. Inside that cave, hovering over a small pond is a bright light. That light is yourself: your true self.
  6. Feel the light of compassion within you. Feel its energy engulf you. Now I want you to try to be one with that light. And considering all aspects of yourself, I want you to send love to your physical, mental and emotional aspects. All of them get to be loved here.
  7. Place all attention on that light; all of your attention on your real self. And with each breath, focus on loving yourself.
  8. If you happen to get distracted by a thought or a sound, that’s fine. Life is filled with distractions. Recognize that distraction, let it pass, and return back to that light, to yourself, and continue to send yourself love.
  9. Let’s keep the focus on wrapping ourselves up with love—not engaging with any negative thoughts we may have. We can get so caught up with judging ourselves, with negative aspects. Let’s try to wash all that away with love. Any faults, any negative thoughts you have of yourself, clean them away with a wave of love. Continue to breathe at that comfortable pace—all your attention on sending love to yourself.
  10. Now let’s shift our focus toward all the positive thoughts we have about ourselves. Think of those aspects you appreciate. Really feel that love emanating from yourself and remember all that is good about yourself. Enjoy the warmth and happiness that comes from that feeling.
  11. Again, remember if you get distracted, that’s fine. Just let it pass. And return back to yourself and the love that you’re sending.
  12. Now let’s focus on the whole self. By that I mean, let’s combine the negative feelings you may harbour about yourself with the positive feelings you have. And let’s put them altogether and surround them with love. Fill every ounce of your being with love. And feel love exuding out of every single pore in your body.
  13. Hold that glowing, loving image of yourself in your mind. Now, I want you to say three times with me: I love you. I love you. I love you.
  14. Let’s slowly bring our attention back to our bodies now by wiggling our fingers and toes. Roll your wrists and ankles around. Stretch your neck out by just turning it to the left and to the right. Then take your time: when you feel comfortable doing so, slowly blink your eyes open and come back to your senses.

All right, I love you all, too. I hope you can feel that, along with the love you have for yourself.

I do have some homework for you. I want you to practice this loving-kindness exercise, using it as a guide to help you throughout the week. And, if you have a chance each morning, just when you wake up, try taking a few deep breaths and say to yourself three times: I love you. I love you. I love you.

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About the author

Andres Gonzalez

Andres is a co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation. For sixteen years, Andres has taught yoga to diverse populations throughout the world, including Baltimore City Public School students, drug treatment centers, mental crisis facilities, homeless shelters, wellness centers, colleges, private schools and other various venues throughout the nation and throughout the world. He has partnered with John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health and the Penn State’s Prevention Research Center on a Stress and Relaxation Study.