…is one of the central principles by which we abide here at ICU. It’s my personal belief that whatever container you’re here in is the perfect container to do whatever it is you’re meant to do here on the planet. The sooner you make friends with your container, the easier your life will roll, I promise.

We’re constantly inundated with messages about how we need to change our bodies; be thinner, be curvier, be smoother, have straight hair if it’s curly, have curly hair if it’s straight, wear more makeup, wear clothes that ‘hide’ all the ‘flaws’ and sometimes it’s really tough to stand back and take a look at ourselves in an honest, loving and gentle way. Too often we look at ourselves and focus on the one thing that we perceive is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ and forget to see all of the other things that make us unique, that make us uniquely beautiful.

If you’re tired of putting yourself second, putting yourself down or putting your life on hold ‘until’ whatever, whether that’s ‘until I lose 20lbs’, ‘until I get that new job’, ‘until I’m in a relationship’, then here are three steps to get started on putting yourself first:

1. Write yourself a love letter. Sit down and write a letter to yourself, or make a mind map, of all the qualities that are excellent about you. If you’re having trouble, ask your friends and colleagues what they think are some really great things about you and the way you look. See if you can come up with at least five nice things. Read this letter or look at the mind map daily.

2. Start figuring out what pleases you and give yourself more of it. During your daily activities, as you see different images or experience different things, ask yourself, “What it is about this experience or image that pleases me most?”. For example, I discovered by doing this that I really enjoy a particular quality of light when I’m working, which meant I needed to add a bit of warm lighting to my office in the winter instead of making myself work in the harsher ‘natural’ light of my overhead fixture. By giving myself this gift of light, I was able to work more efficiently and feel calmer in my environment, which made me more effective and productive.

3. Get in the mirror. Take a good long look at yourself and see honestly what is there. If you catch yourself saying things like, “Oh god, I look so tired!”, then the first step is to ask yourself what’s missing in your life that you’re not getting the rest you need and deserve, or whatever else it is that you need. The next step is to immediately look for something that’s lovely about you. For example, when we’re really tired, we sometimes have an openness or soft quality about our eyes that’s very inviting and vulnerable. Try seeing yourself as you would see your child, your partner or dear friend. Give yourself the love you freely give to others and get started on making friends with your container today.

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