Continuing the journey of self-care through the minor arcana, we come to the suit of swords. Swords represent the element of air and have to do with our thoughts. Presence and mindfulness to the way we think about ourselves is arguably one of the most difficult forms of self-care, nevertheless, below are some prompts to clean up the way you think about yourself in order to facilitate self-love. Practicing these prompts won’t always be easy, but there will be great payoff in mental health in doing so.
Ace of Swords: Clear your mind through meditation exercises (which can be as simple as paying attention to your breath). This will help you rise above the ruckus and gain clarity about your life and the way you view yourself.
Two of Swords: When feeling overwhelmed, let your mind be still. Give yourself the space to acknowledge the different thoughts in your mind, and actively choose what you will focus your thoughts on.
Three of Swords: Drop the habit of continuously going over past events and conversations in your mind, especially ones that hurt or for which you feel you should have said something differently or acted differently. What’s done is done. Don’t continuously open old wounds, instead, forgive yourself and let your mind heal.
Four of Swords: Give yourself permission to not worry and to be at peace in your mind. Let your mind rest, and let the world take care of itself
Five of Swords: Self-righteousness is an easily overlooked sickness originating in the mind but affecting the spirit. Choose wisely what you will battle over, and make sure your motivations come from a selfless place instead of a desire to feel superior.
Six of Swords: Investigate a new area of interest and expand your horizons. Give your mind healthy and interesting thoughts to feed on. Let peace transform your thoughts.
Seven of Swords: Face your fears and acknowledge self-sabotaging thoughts for what they are. Allow yourself to believe in your mind that you are full of great potential and fully capable of realizing it.
Eight of Swords: Recognize the way you limit yourself with excuses and cut it out. Your mind can come up with a million excuses and place the blame on outward circumstances. Instead, take responsibility and take action. The only one who holds you back is you, and once you acknowledge that you’ll free yourself. Take a cue from the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland and practice believing in six impossible things before breakfast.
Nine of Swords: Make a commitment to not allow yourself to think any abusive thoughts about yourself, but instead, to practice compassion and love for yourself in the thoughts you direct inward. “You are your own worst critic” is an adage for a reason. Destructive self-criticism is the greatest cause of low self-esteem. When tempted to berate yourself internally, pause and consider all the things you love about yourself instead.
Ten of Swords: Refuse to dwell on worst case scenarios. Refuse to project these mental images into the future. When tempted, remind yourself that the only place you exist is in the present moment and that all is well right here and right now. Even if your circumstances are much less than ideal at the moment, that doesn’t indicate that it will be the case for you in the future. You can handle whatever comes your way, you don’t need to worry about negative possibilities in the meantime.