Taking My Own Medicine
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 Maybe it’s an outdated part of me trying to protect me from failing or getting hurt, and can be used as a useful reminder of what’s important to me around that action – like wanting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!
With love and happiness, Laura