May, Myself, & I: A Self-Love Experiment
I’ve completed a second full day of being mindful of the way I speak to and about myself, on top of taking care to treat myself with the same love and patience I offer others. I’m adding in a little romance, a lot of gentleness, some deep breaths, and a few surprises. I’m taking care of stuff I’ve been putting off, because I know that in any other relationship I’d be upset if someone consistently promised to do something and then didn’t follow through on it.
Today’s focus was on INTEGRITY and GENTLENESS with self, as well as listening to / respecting my body’s limits.
Today, my May Myself & I loving choices were:
1. Wake up to my first alarm. No 9 snoozes followed by rushing to get ready. (I despise rushing, and yet I’ve done it almost every morning my entire life.)
2. Go to my morning AA meeting. Get there EARLY. (This is unheard of for me.)
3. Share in the AA meeting (something I’ve been struggling to do lately) and stay afterward to interact with humans rather than sprint to car immediately after the meeting. – I felt VERY uncomfortable after sharing. I told the group that I wanted to be more open and vulnerable, and I wanted them to get to know me… And I wanted to get to know them. Prior to this, my tendency had been to go to a group for a bit until the honeymoon phase wore off and then scurry to a new group… Never settling anywhere long enough to feel like home or community. – Lesson here? SOMETIMES DOING THE CARING THING FOR MYSELF IS UNCOMFORTABLE.
4. No texting and driving. (I wouldn’t text and drive with someone else in the car; why would I do so with me in the car?)
5. 30-minute guided compassionate body scan meditation
6. Work on simplifying my website and transferring it over to WordPress, something I’ve wanted to do for… Like… 2 years.
Here’s what came up for me today:
“Be mindful of perfectionism. Remember: this 30-day journey is about being gentle, loving, and encouraging… Not about being a rigid micro-manager. TAKE IT EASY. Easy does it.”
I found myself wanting to incorporate a myriad of daily “to-do’s” which logically matched what I define as self-love. OH. I SHOULD MEDITATE X MINUTES A DAY AND DO YOGA X MINUTES EVERY DAY AND MAKE SURE I CALL 3 WOMEN A DAY AND ALSO POST A VIDEO ON TOP OF DOING THE DAILY BLOG POST AND AND AND.
No. That’s not what this is about.
Have you ever been there before? We get excited about some new endeavor and over-commit to the point of wearing ourselves out and quickly losing interest. Maybe it’s self-sabotage… Or maybe it’s just excited over-ambition… Like getting way too much food at a buffet but feeling certain you’re hungry enough to finish it all.
Self-love for me is not about having a laundry list of must-do’s. I’ve gotten stuck in that trap before… Thinking I’d only be okay IF I completed a list of tasks. The tasks often came from books I’d read, or what other people had told me to do. Rarely was I able to answer the simple question: “What do I want / need right now?”
This journey for me is about getting in touch with my intuitive voice, with my body’s sensations and natural guidance. It’s about learning to recognize what I want and need (which has proven to be challenging in the past), and then giving myself what I can + asking for help from others when appropriate.
I’ve struggled with burnout most of my life. I’ve been known to sprint (with projects or ideas or even relationships) until my system (brain) ran super hot. I’d ignore (or not even notice) my body and brain’s signs of overheating… And ultimately end up with a nervous breakdown or a mini shutdown where basic sentences become challenging and I sleep 14 hours a day and cry for no apparent reason (“Why do we need air?! It’s so claustrophobic!” *cries* or “One day the sun will gobble up everything and my favorite willow tree won’t exist anymore!” *wails*). I’d go from on top of the world + amped up on an idea + working hard… to burnt out, exhausted, and barely capable of doing simple things like feeding myself.
I’ve begun to learn my burnout clues. One sign is a very specific headache. It’s my brain’s way of saying, “JEN. RUNNING HOT. NEED TO COOL DOWN.” Today, while in the midst of working on my website, I noticed the headache. I IMMEDIATELY STOPPED DOING WHAT I WAS DOING. I shut off my computer, sat on my sofa, and watched baking shows.
*THIS IS A HUGE WIN.*
I recognized my limits and I honored them. I rested, meditated, and then came back to write this quick post. I’m done working on the website for tonight… Even though the URL is messed up and I’m not at what I’d normally deem a stopping point.
I know I won’t be perfect during this journey. Just because I woke up to my alarm and made it early to a meeting this morning doesn’t mean I’ll do that every morning. And I’m learning… that’s okay. It’s okay to be human. It’s okay to be imperfect. It’s all part of this journey.
Which extreme do you tend toward, apathy or overdoing it?
What is one simple thing you can do today (and tomorrow) to shift this tendency toward a balance point?
AND ALSO: It’s okay if your self-love looks nothing like mine. It’s okay if you’re not yet at self-love and you’re more along the lines of seeking self-tolerance. That’s okay. Do what works for you.