Self Check-Ins and Maintaining a Relationship with Yourself
Interview led by Olivia Revoredo | @livrevy
Welcoming Ailyn Malit to the blog with arms wide open. Ailyn comes to us with uplifting energy and inspiring words on self-love, checking in with yourself, acknowledging emotions, feelings, desires, attachments — and releasing.
"Self-love is about building the best relationship with myself like I would with any partner."
Hi Ailyn! Tell us a bit about yourself and your craft. How has your artistic journey looked so far?
Well, I dabble in all sorts of things. I guess what I’m most known for is my pottery. I started learning pottery a few years ago under the guidance of Renata Podlog. She runs these classes at Central Tech where she’ll demonstrate different techniques and gives you the freedom to make whatever you want.
I make one-offs, so every piece is different, and I’ll probably never make it again! I mostly use them as a form of exchange or as a gift. The last collection I worked on, I gave them away based on a pay-it-forward model because what I love most about pottery is the process. It can take weeks to finish and it changes every step of the way. So one day, it occurred to me that I could continue the process if I asked people who received my work to pay it forward, and do a kind deed for someone else. That way, we create a ripple effect of beauty that has the potential to keep going and affect a large amount of people. It’s like the ultimate project, the one that never ends.
"Just like with pottery, it's [self-love] about the process."
When it was decided that the February blog entries were being focused on self-love I immediately thought of you. I believe that your positivity is infectious and I love how you are always encouraging others to practice self-care. Can you tell our readers how you incorporate self-love in your life? How it is then translated into your artistic process?
Firstly, it’s such a compliment to be thought of when “self-love” comes up, so thank you! I have daily rituals that I like to practice. It started off simply by meditating in the mornings and practicing yoga. That trickled into writing a journal and then eventually turning vegan. I find that my practice keeps changing. Just like with pottery, it’s about the process. Self-love is about building the best relationship with myself like I would with any partner. I get to learn who I am, how I work, and what I can do, but the underlying thread that ties these lessons together is the way I support myself, respect my process, and accept who I am along the journey. If I don’t keep this thread strong, then things fall apart. And with any artistic practice, self-love is a skill that gets better over time the more we commit to it.
When would you say you first started practicing self-love? How has this journey changed at different points in your life?
Naturally, I’d say since I was a kid. All I wanted to do was have fun, laugh, and hang out with my best friends, and fortunately, I did get to do those things growing up. But eventually, my priorities changed and I cared more about what others thought of me than what I thought of myself. I didn’t even really know or hear the term “self-love” until I got out of high school. No one ever talked about it because my family focused on the sacrifice they endured so that they could give me the opportunities they never had. They taught me to love by taking care of others before I took care of myself. Although very noble, I was collapsing under this ideology, and lived with depression and anxiety for many years. I had to get to a very low point before I found my way back.
It wasn’t until a few years ago, around the same time I began to practice pottery, when I sort of woke up and turned my life around. I met beautiful people, connected with nature, quit my job, and started pursuing things that made ME happy! Something that always stuck with me since I was a kid was this tenacity to do things my way. Now I’m directing that energy into growing, which honestly, can be a really messy journey but hey, that’s what makes life fun isn’t it?
Are there a series of questions or steps that you like to ask yourself when you do your check-ins?
Good question! I find a lot of value in checking-in with your self but I don’t think a lot of people do that… I sort of scan how I feel and figure out if there’s something I need to acknowledge - an emotion, a feeling, a desire, an attachment. Then I allow myself to feel it and release it in whatever way. Maybe it’s through writing, a naked dance party, venting to my friends, or even questioning it some more, like,
“Why do I feel this way? And how does this serve me?”
Sometimes I figure it out, and sometimes I don’t, but I just try to be honest with myself. One of my teachers told me that the worst thing we can say to ourselves is that four-letter F word… it’s when we don’t want to look at how we’re really feeling so we sweep it under the rug and say, “We’re fine.”
But if I’m not feeling great then I want to let myself not feel great! When we acknowledge something, we also give it the opportunity to change and to grow. It’s how magic works! We can change from one state into another when we allow ourselves to feel it, and let it breathe.
So my process is to:
Ask what am I feeling
Let it change and
then, poof! You make magic.
Would you say that self-love looks different for each individual?
Hmmm… I’d say yes, self-love looks different in the way it can be practiced, but I think the underlying feeling is the same. It’s how we’re all connected to each other. We’re all one, but we’re getting to understand that from our own unique experience, and determining whether you go about it in the right or wrong way is up to you. There are infinite ways on how to love, but it all comes back to feeling love.
But maybe I’m wrong? I don’t know. Haha… What I know is that as I keep learning things, I find out that I don’t really know anything at all. So who knows? Is love a universal feeling? Do you feel love the way I feel love? What do you think?
What tips would you give to readers who are ready to incorporate self-love into their lives?
We stumble, and roll
And fumble, and fall
Feeling like we’re nowhere near
Where we want to be at all…
But there’s something beautiful
About letting your self go
To where life wants to take you
So let go and get lost
On your journey
Because what you might discover
Could really just be
Of who you already are
Embrace the fun
When you’re in a funk
Laugh, dance, and play
Even on those bad days
And do your best to
Serve your self
Before you can serve
Now is the best time to start
So what are you waiting for?
For more of Ailyn's journey: @ladyailyn