Several weeks ago, the phrase, "Be Your Own Commitment." came to me sometime during the day. It must have been during one of my upswing periods when the clouds and fog had parted and the vagueness of life I had been fighting temporarily lifted. Usually, I try to write when my mind and heart are clear and I can make sense of things, but for some reason when this phrase came to me then, I wasn't ready. Or, now as I'm looking back, maybe I didn't want to believe it.
I'm still not sure I'm ready to speak to what it means to me. But I need it today, more than ever, because once again, my rudder is dragging and I'm quickly running aground in dark, uncertain waters.
If someone were to play out loud our private thoughts and inner dialogues, we most certainly would be aghast at how awful we can be to ourselves, especially in the moments when our fragile selves cling to any reassurance and comfort we can get. Some call this voice the ego or the critic and it can be a real, "insert expletive of your choice" here. The trick, or the habit we need to exercise with it, is to question its truth and reality. Are the things we're telling ourselves, "I'm worthless. I'm invisible. No one cares about me. I'll never be happy." actually true? I'll admit, sometimes the pit of despair pulls you to give into these thoughts and they're as addictive and soothing as junk food. We wallow in them, shed the tears, let them bear down on our chests and start to assign them validity. Our hearts are a muscle and when we don't see ourselves having worth or value we weaken it, vessel by vessel, chamber by chamber until it goes dark. I've been reading and listening to a lot of work lately that talks about how our emotions can affect our physiology meaning when we're sad, stressed, angry, depressed, our physical body, our organs and all of the miraculous systems that make it operate slow down, stagnate, sputter, back up, seize up, you name it. It made me wonder if we could only see the deterioration and view of our insides as much as we place so much emphasis on our outsides, would that fuel us to take better care of ourselves?
Being your own commitment means loving who you are right now and wanting to be here, present to today, no matter if times are joyous and great or difficult and defeating. In a sense, we can't serve others or the world if we don't know how to take care of ourselves and be with ourselves through all the ups and downs. In marriage we say, "for better or for worse, in sickness and in health." Why then can't we expect just as much for ourselves?
Start simple. Liken yourself to a garden. In order for things to grow and produce, you need to have rich soil, water, and light. Some things you plant might not do well and that's okay. Sometimes life is trial and error, too. Learn from the experiences, the setbacks, the successes. But never give up or forget to tend to your garden. Remove the weeds so they don't choke out the growing plants. Protect it from too much heat and sun. Water it when it's thirsty. Slow down and enjoy its beauty when it peaks and shows you the fruit of your labor. Cultivate your worth each and every day. Feel your significance. Know how beautiful and meaningful your life is. Trust in the richness you bring to friends and strangers. Love you the way you need to be loved, the way no one will ever love you. Be your own friend. Make a vow to yourself that you will take good care of yourself emotionally and physically. Honor that commitment like you would a commitment to anything else of significance in your life. Be your own commitment. It's probably the biggest responsibility you'll ever know.