Last time I wrote I mentioned that my theme or mantra for 2014 is to “Take My Own Medicine”. I’ve been exploring what this means for me and wanted to share that with you. First, I should confess that I stole the phrase from Lee Glickstein, the founder of Speaking Circles International, who is a master at helping people become comfortable speaking through the practice he teaches called Relational Stillness. I attended a Relational Stillness Intensive weekend workshop in December, and Lee used that phrase several times. “Taking my own medicine” really resonated with me – it describes what I usually call “walking my talk”. I’m always encouraging clients to practice self-love, to prioritize honoring their own values, and to take actions that will support the life they want to live – but how consistently am I doing this in my own life? Authenticity is very important to me, so I want to be congruent in what I’m saying and what I’m doing. As a mom, I’m also hyper-aware that what counts in parenting is what I model to my kids, not what I say. So 2014 seems like a good time to focus on committing to actually LIVING what I prescribe!
As I thought about the ideas I really believe in – and most often talk about – I realized there are many areas where I tend to veer off-course, particularly when I feel stress or time-pressure. For example, self-love is something I talk about with clients A LOT. I know that the more we practice self-love, the better our journey feels and the quicker we create the things we want in our life – a win-win. Yet, I notice that sometimes I let the inner critic voice take over my thoughts, which is not a very loving act. I forget that “should”ing myself is never the way I want to move forward. Not only does using the “drill sergeant” technique to motivate myself to do something I don’t want to do not work, but whatever action I take to avoid potential self-judgment, guilt, or shame is never worth the price. Perhaps I should make a giant warning sign reminding me of my intentions about how I want to live: DO NOT TAKE ACTION OUT OF GUILT, OBLIGATION, OR SELF-JUDGMENT. BE AT CHOICE!
When that inner critic is speaking loudly, there’s always a good reason. Maybe it’s an outdated part of me trying to protect me from failing or getting hurt, and can be used as a useful reminder of what’s important to me around that action – like wanting to do a good job, or contribute to others. Or maybe it’s a warning bell alerting me to the fact that there’s something about moving forward with that action that is not in alignment with my values. I can investigate deeper, rather than trying to beat myself with a stick into action. To remind myself of my intention to practice self-love, I set up reminders on my phone asking myself the following 4 questions throughout the day:
How is the Universe (God, Spirit, etc.) loving me right now?
Am I choosing happiness right now? If not, why?
How can I love myself more in this moment?
What can I celebrate about myself right now?
Even after just a couple weeks of this practice, taking 30 seconds or so to consider the questions has already made a difference in my day. It’s helping to bring my awareness to the circumstances around me that I’m grateful for (#1), the thoughts I’m currently choosing and how I’m feeling as a result (#2), and all the things that I’m doing right rather than wrong (#4). And although the action I take in response to #3 is usually small (like taking a break from the computer to stretch, or changing my perspective of something I’m thinking about), I can see that just by asking the question I am forming a new habit to support nurturing myself more fully in my life. Although I suspect this particular practice may lose its potency after a few more weeks, I’m committed to continually finding new ways in 2014 to “Take My Own Medicine” more often when it comes to self-love.
What about you? What “Medicine” from your own life do you have a deep knowing about that would make your life better? What actions could you take to stay connected to that knowing more consistently? I’d love to hear your wisdom below!