Maybe you’ve come across this situation where you’re explaining something you love to someone (yoga, reading, fan fiction, whatever!), and there’s a moment at the end where you feel the need to add a disclaimer.
“Sorry, I know it’s a bit weird…”
I do it all the time. I’m not ashamed of what I love per say, but I often find myself apologizing before explaining a particular interest of mine. Why? Why should I? It’s a weird self-defense mechanism that protects against another person telling you that your interest isn’t valid (spoiler alert: it is).
Something that I often think about during my yoga practice is how we want to love ourselves. Even with all of our faults, people are incredible creatures capable of love and passion, even smarts and laughter. Loving ourselves extends to loving what excites us. Part of that is accepting what makes us unique. So in taking my yoga practice off of the mat, my intention of the week is to never apologize for what I love. Whether it’s an obscure book, Harry Potter fan fiction, or a strange horror podcast – if I love it, then I should enjoy telling people about it.
Some hobbies or interests are not so common; there’s no two ways about it. But why bother apologizing about your love of baking obnoxious amounts of cake if it’s something that you consider an important part of you? Granted, this form of self-love isn’t something that you can learn overnight. It can take time and practice. It can take correcting and re-correcting yourself after every statement and making sure that you do in fact love yourself, your interests and all of the assorted parts that make you unique.
My advice to you is to take your time with it. Start by being mindful of your behavior, seeing what you do and do not say about yourself when describing your interests to others. See if you do in fact “own” your passions. If you are an avid secret hip-hop dancer, be proud. Share what makes you happy with the world. Watching other people do what makes them smile in turn can inspire others to follow their dreams. It’s only a small intention, and one that I may not follow every day all day – but if only for a couple of moments: don’t apologize for what you love.
OK, yogis, tell us your formerly-guilty pleasures loudly and proudly in the comments!