The perks of going label free

When asked ‘Who are you?‘, what springs to mind first? Is it your name and age, job title and nationality, your role as a spouse or a parent? Listing these things is second nature to many and no wonder – we’ve all grown up in a world where labelling ourselves and others in a myriad of ways is so entrenched that we don’t bat an eyelid anymore when asked to tick boxes on yet another form. Add to that any medical diagnoses and traumatic life experiences that we may have gone through and we get what author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle calls ‘a story’ about who we are. And a story, of course, can’t possibly capture all of our complexity and uniqueness.

While labels may not be ‘evil’ in themselves, the more we identify with them, and the more power we give them, the more we are at risk of limiting who we can be.

  1. How labels may be holding us back

They can limit our growth

The risk of accepting and identifying with a label is that we can get unnecessarily stuck in one way of being, where we may naturally have kept evolving and changing.

The more we see ourselves through a particular label (be it ‘depressed’, ‘shy’, ‘old’ etc.) the less we focus on everything else that we are – and have the potential to be. We are not only multifaceted beings but also constantly learning, evolving and becoming… And being attached to a label limits that growth like a flower pot that’s too small to allow the roots of a plant to expand.

They can lock us into the past

Sometimes labels are born out of traumatic experiences we have endured in our lives. While it’s undeniable that such things shape and change us, we don’t need to hold on to them forever as our identity. Continuously identifying with a past experience and defining ourselves through it keeps us from living in the present moment and reaching for new territory.

They can distort how we see others

Labels also get in the way of seeing others in their full complexity – we make assumptions based on that one aspect. Often we see groups of people talked about as if they were a homogenous mass, when any label (be it ethnicity, religion, age, sexuality – you name it!) is only one facet of each individual in a vastly diverse aggregation of individuals… Labels used in this way pave way for stereotypes, discrimination – and missing out on the true beauty of diversity.

  1. Diffusing the power of labels

A life completely without labels may not seem completely possible, but with some mindful attention to our own thoughts and words we can at least loosen their grip on us. Tolle recommends focusing on the question ‘Who am I?‘ by feeling rather than thinking about it.

The power of ‘I am’

Pay particular attention whenever you utter the words ‘I am’. Once we’ve accepted a label, we are often the ones who also keep reinforcing it. Using the words ‘I am [label]’ can have a powerful effect on us – for better or for worse – especially if we repeat them constantly. But what would we be without those thoughts? One way to weaken a label is to think in terms of experiencing something in that moment rather than being it. Saying ‘I haven’t been at my most organised today’ instead of ‘I am so disorganised‘, or ‘I’m aware that I’m having thoughts that give me feelings of stress’ rather than ‘I am stressed’ may not sound radically different, but already there’s a small doorway open to [Read more…]

Fall in love with yourself this Valentine’s Day – glow inside and out

We all know Valentine’s Day is about celebrating with the people we love… but this year, how about adding the most important person to your list – You! Of course, you want to look good for that hot date, but what’s the point in looking good if you don’t feel good?

 

Ready to get glowing inside and out this Valentine’s Day? Here’s how:

 

Glowing Skin

 

  1. Drink more water: we know you’ve heard it a gazillion times, but water truly is radiance straight out of the tap and your first go-to when it comes to revealing your most kissable complexion. Hydrate your skin, improve elasticity and boost your skin’s appearance by drinking at least eight glasses of the good stuff a day.

 

  1. Curb sugar: no one said anything about giving up chocolate on Valentine’s Day (can you imagine?). But sugary foods take their toll on your skin, damaging cells and affecting collagen production. So, choose skin-loving dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 70%); packed with vitamins, iron and calcium, it can replace lost moisture in your skin, nourishing it from the inside out.

 

 

  1. Eat the rainbow: brighten up lacklustre skin by eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables. The more colourful they are – think carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, orange, mango – the more potent the nutrients, giving you a gorgeous glow and a kiss-me-quick complexion.

 

  1. Get moving: exercise isn’t just great for our health, it’s great for our skin too. Treat a tired and puffy complexion to at least 20-minutes of exercise each day. Whether it’s running, dancing, yoga or whatever exercise you enjoy, you’ll be boosting blood flow and promoting circulation, keeping your complexion healthy and vibrant. Your skin (and your body) will thank you.

 

  1. Get more sleep: improve skin tone and banish those dark circles and puffy eyes by making sure you get your beauty sleep. Experts suggest eight hours a day, but you know what’s right for you. So, up that shut-eye for bright, petal-soft skin just in time for Valentine’s Day.

 

  1. Exfoliate: give your skin a Valentine’s Day makeover with our multi-award-winning Gentle Exfoliant Pink, for a radiant, perfectly kissable complexion. Full of skin-nurturing oils- jojoba seed, grape seed, argan and avocado- plus our very own biodynamic spelt oil, you’ll reveal strokeably-soft and glowy skin, faster than Cupid’s bow.

Skin needing an extra boost? Well who doesn’t love date-night with skin that’s plump, moisturised and hydrated? Quench thirsty skin fast as you help diminish fine lines and wrinkles, with AEOS Skin Replenisher Cream Rich.

 

 

Glowing Heart

 

Caring for others and living with compassion is scientifically proven to make us feel good. And what better way to celebrate and honour the love in our lives than by opening our hearts with a simple loving-kindness meditation?

 

Practicing loving-kindness can do wondrous things for our hearts… like helping us to let go of old bugbears, and strengthening relationships – with others and with ourselves. So, whether you want to be in your most loving frame of mind for that date, or just want to show yourself some love, take the time in the run-up to Valentine’s Day (and beyond) to follow this simple technique.

 

  • Find a quiet place and close your eyes, relax your muscles and take a few deep breaths.
  • Imagine yourself experiencing complete physical and emotional wellness, and inner peace. Focus on this feeling and visualise yourself breathing out tension and breathing in love.
  • In your mind, repeat the following loving-kindness phrases to yourself:
    • May I be happy
    • May I be safe
    • May I be healthy
  • Let yourself enjoy these feelings for a while. If your attention drifts away, gently bring yourself back.
  • Begin to shift your focus to the loved ones in your life. Begin with someone you’re close to and start to feel your gratitude and love for them. In your mind, picture yourself saying the mantra to them:
    • May you be happy
    • May you be safe
    • May you be healthy
  • Hold onto these feelings for a while. When you’re ready, bring other important people from your life into your awareness, one-by-one and repeat the meditation. Then branch out to other friends and family, then neighbours and acquaintances, even people you see but don’t know.
  • Next, extend the feelings of loving-kindness to people you may be in conflict with. Let go of any anger and resentment towards them, and picture them with perfect wellness and happiness. Repeat the mantra to them.
  • When your meditation is complete, open your eyes and remember that you can revisit that wonderful feeling of loving-kindness throughout the day, with just a few deep breaths.

Source: Fredrickson BL, Cohn MA, Coffey KA, Pek J, Finkel SM. Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources.