DAY ONE: 5/2/2019
I’ve decided to take May as a month for Me. I’ve become aware of the fact that I’ve spent much of my life putting others first. And, even when I did seemingly selfish acts, it was with other people (or at least their opinions) in mind. Rarely have I done loving things to and for myself, just because. Or fun things, just because. It’s always been with some outcome in mind.
To others? I am loving, compassionate, honest, loyal, understanding, and forgiving. I buy little gifts, I surprise loved ones with thoughtful gestures, and I will stand up for anyone.
Treating myself with this same care and level of priority, however, has proven to be challenging. And uncomfortable.
Sometimes we get to places where we feel nervous at work, or jealous in our relationship. We compare our behind-the-scenes to what others portray on social media through filters. We feel lousy, lame, boring, flabby, obsolete, and scared. Old stories get activated… Stories we’ve built over our lifetime. Every negative thing said to us was stored away, written in calligraphy in some big, dusty book with one of those well-worn leather covers.
The stories have been read again and again, with additional handwritten notes in the margins.
When stories get activated in the subconscious mind, it becomes our conscious mind’s job to hyper-focus and seek evidence to back up the stories. To prove them to be “true.” And, while the mind’s interpretive powers are rarely (if ever) objective or fair, it is quite the good detective. Its findings may not hold up in court, but will certainly suffice for Fear to reinstate its narratives.
When the work-nerves show up or insecurity arises in a relationship, we may seek outside validation. Once my boss tells me how great I am, my nerves calm. My boyfriend reassures me that he loves me and chooses me. I feel calmer. The panic settles.
But not for long.
See, these affirmations we receive from others are merely Band-Aids. (I’m not saying that we should avoid sharing our concerns / needs with others. I’m simply stating that we shouldn’t rely solely on others to help us feel okay.) They are a shot of serotonin to the brain and, like with any drug, the brain soon adapts. Where one “good job” used to suffice, now we need to hear “great job” and “couldn’t have done it without you.” The first “I love you” lasted a week, but soon a spin-out can happen if it’s not heard every day, or after every phone call.
I’ve been acutely aware of this tendency of mine to decrease in confidence as a relationship or friendship or job progresses. And it makes sense. The closer we become to someone and the more we open our hearts, the closer they become to some of our core wounds… the scars and scratches which resulted in the stories of our thick-spined book.
(Also, if they’ve been in our lives for a while, they’ve likely made it past our “representative.” They’ve likely seen us be cranky or emotional or smelly once or twice. The honeymoon feel wears off, and that can be scary.)
And our brain only wants to protect us. Our anxiety systems are quite archaic and binary. Almost robotic in interpretive abilities.
A chihuahua bit me once = “ALL CHIHUAHUAS ARE EVIL.”
Past boyfriends have been unfaithful and wanted someone younger and thinner = “I AM TOO FAT AND OLD TO BE LOVED.”
And, while many old stories can be thrown away or rewritten through the beautiful reflective and healing abilities of a conscious relationship with a loved one, the real healing takes place in the very first relationship we ever had: the one with ourselves.
I often hear people complaining about relationships, and I’ll challenge them to find the root complaint. It’s a wonderful thing, learning to watch and interpret our judgments. I challenge you to do the same.
He doesn’t spend quality enough time with me. = I don’t spend enough quality time with myself.
She doesn’t give me the affection I want. = I don’t give myself the affection I want.
I wish they’d take me out on a date and make me feel special. = I wish I’d take myself out so I could feel special.
(Again, it’s important to state your needs to your partner(s) and friends. I’m not advocating isolation under the guise of self-sufficiency. I have realized, though, that when I give myself what I most desire… my expectations of other become much healthier, and it becomes easier to express my needs in a mutually beneficial way.)
I realized today while talking with a friend that what’s been missing lately hasn’t been some high-paying office job with a fancy title, or some piece of jewelry on my finger which tells society that I’m “enough” to be someone’s forever. I don’t need a fancy house to have a lasting sense of self worth.
What’s really missing is me giving a shit about me. Me loving on myself, spoiling myself, encouraging myself, and having integrity with myself.
A few hours ago (while in the middle of the third Matrix), I heard, “May, Myself, and I” in my head… and realized a 30-day experimental journey was upon me.
What happens if I consciously shift the way I talk about myself and talk to myself? What if I practice standing up for myself? What if I make a list of the things I’ve wanted others to do for / with me, and I do them for / with myself? What will my life look and feel like after 30 days of consciously (and actively) loving myself? And LIKING myself?
There’s only one way to find out.
I have a list of 30+ items. Each day, I will pick at least one… And I will do it. Some are simple, like cleaning my car or buying a new lighter for my sage and incense in my room. Others are out of my comfort zone, like going to a public speaking class or taking dance or drum lessons. Some are free, like taking my dog on a hike to find a waterfall. Others are pricier, such as taking myself on a dinner and a movie date (without a phone) or going to a museum.
At the end of the day, my goal is to write about that item, about how it felt, and the changes as I notice them throughout this journey.
I’m sharing it because:
A. It’s a form of accountability.
B. Perhaps it can help someone else do some loving things for themselves.
C. I like writing things, and this in and of itself is self-love… Because lately I’ve considered giving up writing / sharing altogether. Seriously.
So here it is.
I placed an old ring for sale. I’ve had it for eight years and have wanted to get rid of it, but never took the action to do so. Today, I did. I will use the money from the ring toward my May adventure with Myself.
I am ready to rewrite the stories from that time in my life. Taking the action to give this ring to someone else who will love and cherish it feels… Freeing.
(Also, I cleared the ring of any negative juju. It’s all rainbows now.)
WHAT LOVING THING WILL YOU DO FOR YOURSELF TODAY?