My Sunset Mind
Have you ever watched a sun set?
Watching sunsets are probably one of my absolute favourite things to do to ease my mind, and is often a part of what I do for self care. The beauty and splendour of the colours engulfing the sky reminds me that there is beauty in life all around, and also I find myself awakened and reminded of my existence on this earth.
When I admire sunsets I have never once said, “Those colours are too rich,” or “the sun is not positioned over the horizon enough.” That would be silly … When I watch the sun fall over the horizon my critical mind disappears and I enjoy the beauty in front of me with no judgements.
See, in my own life, I am quick to make critical self-judgements - “I didn’t do that perfectly,” or “I should have taken on another project, even though I’m already too busy.” Those judgements are self-defeating and not growth facilitating. Criticism can be helpful in certain situations - and having an analytical mind helps me structure my thoughts and interpret certain situations. But when it comes to my own self-compassion and care, it can become quite damaging.
I have been doing some personal work over the last year around self-care and self-compassion, which has brought me to a very different and sometimes difficult place in my life. When I allow myself the time and space to reflect on what I need and how I take care of myself, I am empowered - when done in a constructive and supportive way. In all honesty, I sometimes feel pain, defeated and overwhelmed. It has been a process and while I find myself accepting new perspectives, I am aware that the journey is not always easy - but worth it.
My moments of self-care in the past, were oftentimes shadowed by guilt - and still is (at times). Guilt that told me that, “I "feel" bad for not doing what I said I would do;” or that “I ‘should’ spend some time with 'so-and-so' because they need support right now.” When I tell myself these things, I subtract from my own value of self-care and self-love. Because I didn't do what I said I would, does not mean I am a terrible person - it means that right now, I am in a place where I need to recharge so that I can more effectively support others.
I am on a new journey. A journey where I will be more gentle and kind with myself. A journey where I recognize that there will be pit stops and pot holes but in those experiences, I deserve the self-care and compassion for myself - just as I would give to others.
This week, I encourage you to catch a sunset. Let your mind free and focus on the present moment. And throughout the week, when you have those moments of self-criticism, ask your self, “What would my sunset mind say?” How will you show self-compassion during your own challenges?
Be deliberate about taking the time for yourself, and don't forget to be there for you.
With love and peace <3
Founder of Life Out Loud
Martina has over 10 years’ professional experience working as a Personal Development Counsellor and Instructor and holds a diploma in Social Services (Addictions Counselling concentration) from the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), as well as a BA (hons) in Psychology from Mount St. Vincent University.