There is so much beauty in December. Right now, I am looking out of my office window on a gorgeous scene – a snow-covered mountain, hills all white with green dots of juniper, and two inches of snow blanketing outside tables and chairs. There is beauty in the holiday lights. There is fun in wrapping gifts. There is excitement in the air. There is also warm, serene beauty within us. As you focus on creating beauty around you, you can also experience this holiday season from within.
Experiencing the beauty within takes practice, and Rick Hanson’s book, Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time, has five core concepts around which to build your practice:
· Be good to yourself
· Enjoy life
· Build strengths
· Engage the world
· Be at peace
Absolutely all of these will allow you to experience the holidays – and the rest of the year – with greater well-being, serenity, effectiveness, and confidence. Let’s focus on one of his suggestions from the core concept, Be Good to Yourself.
Be Good to Yourself – See the Good in Yourself
As Hanson points out, it is often much easier to see the good in others than the good in ourselves. Remember that the qualities that you admire in others are also within you. You may have simply forgotten, or you might want to strengthen them. You simply may have not noticed lately. Remembering those qualities is valuable because, as Hanson writes, “Knowing your own strengths and virtues is just a matter of seeing yourself accurately.”
To begin, Hanson says to “choose one simple good thing about yourself.” Possibly you are warm, kind, compassionate, persistent, smart, loving, or trustworthy. Choose a good thing and then take the time to notice when you exemplify it. It is important to feel it when you notice. If you try to talk yourself out of that good thing, give yourself some compassion. It is OK to be human and not be that good thing 100% of the time. Work on noticing and feeling the recognition of the one good thing for a week or two. Then, choose another good thing and notice that one.
It is important, too, to be “open to the good things that others recognize in you. Start with a friend, and look at yourself through his or her eyes. What does that person like about you? Or appreciate, enjoy, respect, or admire. If your friend were telling someone else about your good qualities, what might he or she say? Do this again with several other people from different parts – or perhaps times – of your life. Then allow other people’s knowing of your good characteristics to become your own. Soften your face and body and mind to take in this knowing” of who you are.
As I watch the snow begin to melt outside of my window, I am wishing you a December full of beauty inside and out. Be good to yourself. See the good in yourself.