Quick Question: Are you ready to commit? And I don’t mean to your partner. I mean to your soul.
Ok, that’s probably not where you thought this post was going to go, but just stay with me, and let me explain.
I got this topic from an audio book by Caroline Myss called Self-Esteem: Your Fundamental Power. Caroline is an amazing spiritual teacher and medical intuitive, and I highly highly highly recommend any of her books.
Self-Esteem is based on the idea that the only way to truly live your purpose is to have a very deep and strong sense of confidence and faith in who you are on a soul level. And to do that, you need to trust yourself.
However, we are constantly betraying our own trust by making promises to ourselves that we repeatedly break. And it’s usually the little things, like “I’m going to start exercising more,” “I’m done with responding to his 3am drunk texts,” or “Starting tomorrow, I’m going to read the newspaper every day.” Then we beat ourselves up when we inevitably fail.
What Caroline challenges us to do is to pick one thing (and only one- this is important) that we are going to stick to. It doesn’t have to be big, and there is no right or wrong thing to choose. The point isn’t so much about what you’re doing physically; it’s about what you’re doing energetically: you’re proving to your soul that you are trustworthy enough to follow through on something that matters to you.
What you do not want to do is try to overhaul your whole life all at once. Attempting to whip your life into shape by deciding that you will now be vegan, workout every day, volunteer once a week, and meditate for an hour in the mornings will only result in overwhelm and disappointment.
Also, you want to approach this lovingly and compassionately, rather than tyrannically. Say for example that your one thing is that you are going to meditate for 10 minutes every morning. There is such a difference between going at it from a place of “Alright, sit your ass down and switch your brain off now! It’s going to suck, but you’ll have to deal with it.” vs. “I’m ready to incorporate meditation into my day. I know it might feel a bit uncomfortable and awkward at first, but I’m excited to do this for myself!”
Here’s what Caroline has to say about it.
“[I]t doesn’t take a gargantuan thing because all it takes it one tiny act to start respecting yourself again, but that one act has got to begin with reshaping one thing about your physical life that you don’t like. And if you can do one thing, you can do a thousand…The actual journey of self esteem is about your ability to take charge of your spirit. You’ve got to begin somewhere with your physical form. I don’t care what it is, and I don’t care how much. What you are actually doing is earning the respect of your spirit, and that’s your target.”
So when I heard this, I decided that I wanted to commit to exercising regularly. I’d been saying forever that I wanted to work out more, but there was no structure to it, and I easily found excuses to avoid it.
I chose to commit to four one-hour sessions of exercise a week. The first week, I was already starting to make excuses (I just ate, I’d rather rest, it’s too late etc.), but then I’d remind myself that this was no longer negotiable, and so I’d do it anyway. It didn’t matter what kind of exercise it was either, as long as it was something I enjoyed (usually yoga, and more recently dancing).
Now I don’t really think about it- I just fit it into my days, and it has actually taken away so much stress! I used to be anxious, wondering if I would really follow through on my plans to exercise or if I’d be “lazy” and “fail”, but now I just do it. I’ve also started loving to exercise in a way I never did before, and I sometimes choose to exercise more than my set four.
So if you’re interested in trying this out, here’s a quick recap
1. Choose something that you are ready to commit to
2. Frame it in a way that feels loving rather than forced.
3. Follow through, and enjoy the new found sense of peace and trust.
One final note: be mindful of what you are choosing to commit to. To commit to something, you have to be ready for it. For example, if I decided that my one thing would be to give up sugar, I’d likely have fallen off the wagon by now because I am not really up for that right now (and I’ve tried and ‘failed’ many times). As soon as I heard Caroline’s words, exercise jumped into my head, and it felt right.
What are you ready to commit to, and what are you excited to commit to?
Whatever it is, your soul will thank you for it.