I've shared many times how, until rather recently, my inner world was an unfriendly place.
I would often go to a place of harsh, self-criticism, longing to get it "right" or be "enough".
I've managed to shift my inner critical voice into one of warmth and safety over time, using resonant language and understanding how the nervous system works.
Many of us did not receive accurate reflections of our emotional experiences as little ones, and so did not receive the understanding that what was happening in us made sense.
It can be very difficult for humans to access self-esteem and self-compassion when what we are experiencing does not make sense to us.
In fact, it is so distressing to be in this place of not making sense to ourselves that we can become cut off from accessing self-warmth and enter a place of intense self-dislike, even self-loathing.
Other times, some of us actually feel suspicious or afraid when we receive warmth from others, or when we begin to practice the tools of self-empathy.
If humans have been dangerous to us in the past, then of course our nervous system is on alarm around humans!
It can be difficult to actually trust our own empathy guesses when we first begin learning the tools I share for self-connection and warmth.
Do you experience suspicion when you attempt to give yourself warmth?
Do you feel afraid or anxious when other humans show you kindness? Try this:
Do you feel warmth when you meet a baby, a puppy, or a foal in a meadow? Or see a flower sprouting up in the spring?
Now close your eyes and try this: notice what happens in your body when we're in the presence of a non-human being that is safe and innocent and that we feel affection for.
Notice what happens in your body.
Slow down and be patient, give yourself some time to really feel into that energy of love toward another being that is innocent and non-threatening.
Do you notice anything around your heart area? Perhaps a softening, or a kind of glow?
If you feel a softening, or a warmth in you toward this other being, know that this is emotional warmth...this is love, and you are capable of it!
The next step is learning to turn that beam of love that we're experiencing inward, towards ourselves.
There are ways that we can begin to shine the light of warmth that we can feel for other beings, whether human or not, onto ourselves.
This is one of the first steps in coming into an awareness of just how much sense we actually make. I have experienced horses as powerful allies in this work.