As women, we pride ourselves on taking care of others. We commit ourselves to our partners, our best friends, our colleagues, our extended families, our neighbors—the list goes on and on. We show love and respect by being there for them and following through on commitments. We work to understand the nuances of their days and react by cheering them up when things look down, celebrating when life is good or bolstering self-esteem when fear starts taking over.
We listen, we care, we pay attention. And this is a good thing. Having caring, committed relationships (as long as they are reciprocal) help us navigate our lives with support and meaning.
I’d like to propose you take a proactive approach to one of these relationships in the new year. I’d like you to really nurture the relationship and up your level of commitment. I’d like you to pay a little more attention to this person and take time to ask them how things are on a daily, or at least weekly, basis. I’d like you to practice unconditional love.
And from the title of this post, you’ve probably already guessed exactly who I’m talking about.
Stop rolling your eyes right now! Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you have, sister. Make a commitment to take care of yourself, as you would your best friend. This is not selfish—this is the nurturing of you.
As Dan Baker of Canyon Ranch wrote,“Being in your life is everything. Being responsible for yourself, being there for yourself, listening to yourself, nurturing yourself, and engaging yourself so that you can go out and do things for other people whom you value … Sure, there are scary parts along the way, but none are so fearsome that you can’t overcome them, particularly if you commit yourself to doing what it takes to live a beautiful, fulfilling life.”
So, how do you make a commitment to yourself?
1. Ask yourself questions. Don’t you normally inquire about your friends’ feelings, thoughts, days? Turn that attention to yourself. Try asking yourself about what’s going on with your body, energy, or spirit. How do you feel today? Why? How can you care for yourself? Do you need sleep, healthy food, interaction, exercise, comforting?
Journaling every day is an effective way to ask yourself these questions. Bothersome as some of you find it, putting your thoughts down in writing helps to clarify your feelings and allows you to really pay attention to what may be rattling around in your head.
Once you pull out answers about what you may need, do everything in your power to make it happen. That’s commitment.
2. Feed your soul. Make time in your schedule for things you love. Give priority to some passion in your life, so the days don’t flow by in an endless To Do list of shoulds and chores.
Read poetry, drive in your car with the music extra loud, curl up at a coffee shop and people watch, skinny dip in the ocean, deliver flowers to those you adore, work up a good sweat, pet puppies, go dancing, watch black and white movies, bake banana bread—I don’t care! But if you love it, make time for it.
Knowing what you love, what feeds your soul, is vital. Pay attention to those activities that bring a smile to your face and give you that overwhelming fabulous feeling of, “This is life!” Make note of those life-affirming joys and then make time to do more of them.
By showering yourself in the little things that bring you joy, you are caring for yourself with great love. That’s commitment.
3. Live your legacy. You make a difference every day. What do you want that difference to be?
One of my favorite peak performance coaches, Robin Sharma, summarizes this nicely by saying,
“What you do today is actually creating your future. The words you speak, the thoughts you think, the food you eat, and the actions you take are defining your destiny—shaping who you are becoming and what your life will stand for.”
Think about the legacy you’d like to leave. How do you want to be remembered? What values do you want your life to reflect? When you have a clear idea of the big picture, turn that reflection toward your current daily actions. Are they helping you move toward the life you want to live or distracting you?
Increase the actions that are aligned with the true-you path. Decrease the actions that harm or distract. Living a life of intention is a powerful way to honor yourself. And that’s commitment.
Are you in?
I know, I know, I’m calling for a lot. Making a commitment to care for yourself is a very proactive move. It requires contemplation, honesty, love & growth. I’m asking you to be completely in tune with the inner workings about how you feel, what you love & what you want from life. It takes a gutsy women to take on the challenge.
But you know what? You’re worth it.
Let me repeat. You’re worth it.
Originally published on Stratejoy