(Photo above by Rfstudi / Pexels)
So maybe you’ve tried the hour of “me time” each day and have taken more bubble baths than you can count. But the self-doubt or negative self-talk is still nagging at you. What can you do?
To begin with, loving yourself isn’t just a switch you can turn on, it’s a muscle you have to work each day. For Buddhists, the “muscle” we’re working is the ability to rise above our negative instinct to look down on ourselves.
How can we do this? Here are two ways to practice self-love every day.
How you begin your day makes all the difference.
Regardless of what happened yesterday, each morning is a fresh start. Maybe the moment you open your eyes, a flood of concerns or anxieties come to the surface. Buddhism can put them into perspective and help you find ways to feel fulfilled and happy every day.
To begin with, loving yourself isn’t just a switch you can turn on, it’s a muscle you have to work each day.
Our twice daily practice of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reciting two parts of the Lotus Sutra, referred to as gongyo, gives us the energy we need to confidently move forward. When you first start chanting, there may be something in particular you want to see change in your life.
But just setting aside time in the morning and evening to chant is an expression of the love you have for yourself. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is a phrase that essentially says, just as you are, you are a Buddha with incredible ability.
In the words of Buddhist philosopher Daisaku Ikeda:
When you chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, you can bring forth the courage not to be defeated. A firm resolve will form within you to do your best and win.
April 16, 2021, World Tribune, p. 2
Chanting allows you to bring out the best version of yourself. Even with the aspects of yourself that you want to hide away, chanting shows you that you can love even these parts. Buddhism teaches that at the core of our lives, we are irreplaceable and important. Chanting is how our lives can remember this fact.
You need a philosophy or belief that can ground you in self-love.
When we are full of self-doubt, it’s hard to know what is true about ourselves and what is our negativity talking. That’s why having a philosophy to ground us in self-love is so important.
When you’re feeling down, what can you read or be inspired by to lift your spirits? When it’s hard to chant, what can you do to still remember to appreciate yourself? For Buddhists, taking time to study and learn about this hopeful philosophy supports chanting.
There may be times when it’s hard to chant but after reading someone’s Buddhability story you feel like to can continue on your journey.
If you’re struggling today, take a moment to listen to this episode of our podcast that might help.
If you’d like more support or have questions, Buddhability is a real community, where Buddhists gather (now virtually) in their local neighborhoods. It’s a space with no formality or judgment.
If you’d like to check out a local Buddhist meeting, just email us! And we’ll let you know about virtual gatherings in your area.