Self-Love Practice Group
Self-doubts, body comforts, avoidance, defensiveness... All these mechanisms we developed to cope - perhaps some have become patterns that don't serve us any longer?
In this group, we explore what self-love looks like for each of us individually; we apply specific techniques to integrate the changes we wish to see in our relationships with ourselves and the world. Being a part of a group of people with shared intentions is a powerful support mechanism, sometimes needed to go from practicing to living with continuous respect for our own well-being.
Why care about loving ourselves? Listen to one genuine answer:
Credit: ReTribe Soundcloud
WEEK 2. Supporting the whole being: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
WEEK 3. Learning Self-Acceptance.
WEEK 4. Voicing wishes (as well as wants, needs, demands, requests).
WEEK 5. Self-Empowerment, including work with 'I should be' statements.
WEEK 6. Self-Empowerment revisited - review and integration.
WEEK 7. Feeding Inner Brain - recharging our batteries.
WEEK 8. What serves me - discovering personal truth.
WEEK 9. Spiritual well-being. Exuberance.
WEEK 10. I love myself so much, so I can love you so much, so you can love you so much, so you can start loving me...
(You also have the option to only sign up for these, and not for the group participation. We have gotten feedback that it requires a lot more discipline to keep these practices going without a regular structured group. This option is more affordable, and does allow you to go at your own pace.)
Here are a few random pages from the materials for you to sample.
Details & Registration
Group Dates: February 1st through April 7th
Times of Live Virtual Meetings: Monday evenings and/or Tuesday mornings - you can attend one or both sessions.
Exact times to be determined, based on registrants' time zones and preferences.
If none of these options work for you but you are interested in the group, let us know.
Group Sizes: 5-10 people
Cost: Sliding Scale $50-300, based on what you can afford.
This includes 10 learn-and-practice sessions, 10+ drop-in cafes, access to community support, and my active engagement and one-on-one support if needed.
What is this Self-Love I speak of?
What is this Self-Love I speak of? Are there not enough selfish people in the world already?
Self-Love I am referring to means a level of self-worth that creates importance around personal well-being, instead of placing it secondary. It means knowing - at all times, and especially the difficult ones - that I am worth abundance, I am worth joy, I matter. It means continuously making the choices that will serve me well in my relationship with myself, others and the world. It means remembering that it is I who determines my reality, even when I seemingly have no choice. It means expressing myself authentically and respectfully. It means recognizing that I am a powerful person - not powerful over another, but powerful over myself, where I determine what, when and how I experience this life. Living in a self-loving way implies noticing and addressing the times when I judge and limit myself - physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I know I love myself and live in my own power, when I have clarity, strength and passion. It then makes it much more difficult to influence me for someone who carries fears, agendas, desire to hurt.
My name is Aliona. I work with individuals and groups, facilitating healing, processing, discovery and growth. I am a passionate and experienced student of living in a self-loving way, open to model and share what I've learnt, willing to learn from others, and eager to walk along those who are also passionate about intentionally empowering themselves in a loving and balanced way.
Over the years of working through doubts, self-defeating thoughts and holding myself back for the fear of being rejected or being wrong -- I thought I was loving myself when I treated myself to an ice-cream after a long day at work, or when I chose to stay at home instead of going to a friend's party. These may very well be self-loving actions, but for me they turned into patterns - patterns of seeking out body-comforts when feeling overwhelmed; from self-love these morphed into self-pity and self-limitations, finding their way into all areas of my life. It was when I was introduced to an idyllic alternative, that I was hit with a realization that this way of living and making choices was not serving me.
What if - I invite you ponder this parallel world with me - what if we learnt since childhood how to flow through the days and their intensities and anxieties without much stress, because we had the habits in place that routinely allowed us to recognize the moments of tension, and we were taught the tools to release that tension without much residue? If we could move through daily situations with ease, have an abundance of energy into the evening, be excited to wake up and start the day - instead of feeling like we need to replenish it before the next day comes? This may have sounded too good to be true even a couple of years ago, but today it appears close to being possible: neuroscience, nutrition, psychology, sociology, biochemistry, physics, not to mention spirituality and esoteric practices - are all beginning to zoom in on how to enable us to recognize and proactively manage our stress levels, and to shift our lifestyles towards a desirable balance of effort and joy.
Self-improvement is another dimension of self-love that many of us would like to improve in. Having attempted various self-improvements in the past, I am realistic about how difficult it is to make a positive change on my own. There are days when my motivation to improve my life collapses – because the day is rainy, or I just got into an argument with a loved one, or just because! What has helped me personally in the past is accountability. Ideally, it’s accountability to myself, but when such idealism is too far to reach – it is accountability to others that has pulled me through. Think about it in this way: if you begin running in the mornings despite how challenging it may be to get out of bed an hour earlier or get outside when it’s still dark and cold – how much easier is it to get up and actually go for a run if you know there is a buddy who will be waiting for you in 10 minutes, than if you were to go through the whole running on your own? They may have even more challenging time than you do, but they know (or think they know) that you will be there waiting for them. Which is more likely to get you running regularly, to develop that habit and perhaps – just perhaps – to begin to enjoy it over time? I bet that in most cases it will be when you accountability is not only to yourself, but to others as well...
So, here is me, living and modeling self-love the best I can (and forgiving myself when I fall short) and instilling in my life the routines that support my intention. And I invite you to join me and the community of other like-minded people, who all wish to make a change for ourselves, to learn and practice loving and respecting ourselves – providing both support and accountability for each other, so together we can go further and with more ease and joy. I wish to see a world of self-empowered, self-loving humans who, in turn, love and respect each other - the world of care and cooperation, the world of “power with” rather than “power over”. This is my offering to get us moving in that direction.
Overview of Interactions
I suggest you plan for at least 2 to 4 hours per week of intentional self-love-focused time. Having said that, this is your personal process, and You choose your level of commitment and engagement that fits your needs.
Below is the list of offerings related to this group:
- LIVE MEETINGS. We will be meeting once a week for two hours over Zoom or similar video technology. The size of the group will be limited to 5-10 people. This is when the foundation of the group will be forming - and I strongly encourage you to attend these. Based on these two hours, I will be creating printable materials that you can later reference, whether you attend this meeting or not.
- PERSONAL PROCESSING. Every such live meeting will have a topic for us to contemplate over the coming week - you will benefit the most if you allocate another couple of hours over the following days to process it more deeply - be that walking-and-thinking, sitting-and-wondering, journaling, drawing, meditating, free-style rapping, dreaming or anything else that rocks your boat and enlivens your brain.
- LIVE CAFE. There will be a cafe-like gathering over Zoom at least once a week - where you are welcome to join and leave at any time. It will have minimal facilitation on my part, and will serve the purpose of connecting, sharing the process, clarifying thoughts, providing and getting support for all of us.
- SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY BUDDIES. Later on, whoever is interested will select a triad for extra support and accountability - and each triad will figure out its own schedule and media of connection.
- ONE-ON-ONE SUPPORT. I will be available for questions, feedback and one-on-one work as needed.
What to Expect: Schedule and Content
Our live Zoom gatherings will include learning, integration and practice. During the first part of the meetings, I introduce a new topic or idea for us to unravel over the course of that week. The integration frequently includes pondering how this topic is present or absent in our lives - it's a dive past the intellectual understanding and into personal experiences. The practice portion focuses around practical aspects of how to find a balance in our lives with regard to this subject matter. We will be continuously building a common vocabulary of useful terms that will enable recognizing our stresses and triggers more readily. For example, “met and unmet needs”, “making a request of myself”, “my protector part”, etc. In the process of introducing and discussing these, many of us begin noticing our individual patterns that do not serve us.
Later on, as we grow more familiar with our trends and patterns to look out for and become more aware of some of them in our lives, we will shift towards drafting out what self-loving, self-empowered, balanced living looks like for us individually - knowing that it's never a static vision but a continuously refined, sometimes flip-flopping, always imperfectly perfect image. As we will be more acquainted with each other by then, we will be assisting each other in seeing the full picture, including blind spots, inherited beliefs, projections and judgments, at the same time living into kindness and self-compassion. We will begin making more conscious, intentional shifts, identifying “low-hanging fruit” areas of easy and quick improvements, discovering and learning to accept and love our weaknesses, practicing self-reliance and mutual support. At this time, mutual support and accountability may come into play for those of us who choose – it’s frequently not easy to change long-instilled patterns (otherwise we would have done that already!).
Once we find our flow, as initial changes are progressing and initial pitfalls have been overcome - the group will take on a life of its own - creating what it needs for itself: we will begin shaping the process together and bringing in the pieces that are of importance to us personally: sharing, progressing, learning, mourning, growing, withdrawing, celebrating, etc.
Outline of Topics
- What does self-love look like for me
- Supporting the whole being: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual
- Developing self-acceptance
- Voicing things: wants, wishes, needs, requests
- Self-empowerment: explored, embodied and re-visited
- Feeding Inner Brain ~ re-fueling ourselves
- Practices for discernment: what serves me
- and more...