Saturday, September 22, 2012
Making a Commitment to Yourself
This week I was helping out at the congregation's Membership Class (a series of classes that those interested in becoming members of the congregation must take), and we were discussing the question "In your life, what commitments have you made? How do your commitments matter in your life?"
My answer was that, first of all I have made a commitment to myself.
Does that surprise you? It surprised the person I was partnered with for discussion. But here it is - I've come to realize that if I am not committed to myself, then it becomes impossible to truly uphold any other commitments. I only bring my best to all of my commitments if I am committed to bringing the best to myself first. (Another way of saying the old cliche that you need to put on your own airmask first in a plane crash).
And so, although I am currently feeling quite overwhelmed by many many commitments and outside demands (some pretty petty or simple and some quite large, complex, and difficult) I am focused on keeping this commitment to myself:
I will care for myself with as much care, consideration, compassion, and love as I can. I will give my body, mind, and soul what they need to be healthy and strong. I will remember my own worth and importance, and the value of just being alive. This one precious life, a gift to be cherished (and enjoyed).
And that pledge has these practical steps:
1. Hydrate. This has been my worst health habit, (I really dislike water), but I am going to hydrate my body, because that's what it needs. I bought myself a new water bottle with a built-in carbon filter for my birthday, and that is making it easier.
2. Stretch. Another good thing to do for my body. I happen to have the sort of physiology that has little trouble maintaining strength, but a lot of trouble maintaining flexibility. So, morning yoga and lots of regular stretching breaks throughout the day.
3. Take my vacation and sick time. It's been hard for me to accept that the world can get along without me for a little while without any ill effect, but in fact, I'm not essential and I don't have to keep the world spinning 24/7.
4. Read (Fun Books too). This is good for my heart, mind, and soul.
5. Acknowledge and provide for my needs for order, beauty, and organization in my surroundings. I'm not a minimalist or a neatnik, but I do agree with happiness guru Gretchen Rubin that "outer order promotes inner calm".
6. Use music for mood management when appropriate. Seek out silence at times as well.
What is not on my list:
1. Reward myself with food. No, no, no. (But I won't deny myself food for nutrition and pleasure, either).
2. Reward myself by shopping. No, no, no.
So, what about you? Have you made a commitment to yourself? If not, what's stopping you?