A few weeks ago I posted a blog entry about "How to Be Your Own Prince Charming." You see, if I learned nothing else after 21 years with my ex-husband, it's that there is no Prince Charming. All my life I have been unconsciously waiting for my prince to come. But here's the thing: No one can save me, because I am my own worst enemy -- so if I need saving it's from my own inner critic. No one can fix me, because I'm not broken. And I don't need anyone to complete me; I am a whole person by myself.
Yet, what I've realized over the past month is that despite knowing I didn't need my Prince Charming to save me, I have still been unconsciously searching for him. Trying to find the one man who would complete me, all the while knowing that was ludicrous.
I've been searching for my Soul Mate, my True Love, someone I could commit myself to fully, not realizing the person I really needed to commit to was the woman in the mirror.
Then I picked up Heidi Reeder's Commit to Win, and I got it. Instead of finding a man to commit myself to, I first need to fully make a commitment to myself: a commitment to be my own best friend, my own Prince Charming, my own fairy tale happy ending.
But how does one accomplish that? Reeder argues that commitment is comprised of four elements and that knowing how to combine these elements can help you increase, or decrease your commitment to someone or something. I decided to use her principles to make a commitment to myself.
1) Treasures -- What Do You Value? -- For me to make a commitment to myself, I need to take a good, hard look not only at what I value about me, but whether I value me as a person. In other words, how's my self-worth holding up? In Christine Arylo's Madly in Love with Me, she begins each chapter with a self-assessment on a particular area of self-love. Most of my scores are low, but positive -- even my self-worth score. That is, until a friend challenged me to retake the test and apply it to my self-worth with men and romantic relationships. What I found out surprised me. Although I value myself generally and think of myself as someone with a positive sense of self, when it comes to romantic relationships all bets are off. In other words, when it comes to work or friends, I value me for me. When it comes to romantic relationships, my self-worth flies out the window. I have no value except what my partner thinks of me. Bottom line: If I lose my self-worth when it comes to one type of relationship -- in this case romantic relationships -- then I really had no sense of self-worth to begin with. So do I value me? Apparently not. Time to make a list of what I value about me so I can realize that I should be treasuring myself and not what other people -- especially men -- think of me.
2) Troubles -- What's Holding You Back? -- According to Heidi Reeder, even if we value whoever or whatever we're committed to, it doesn't mean the road will always be paved with gold. There's usually something about that person or thing that bugs us. So why can't I commit to myself? Do I think I'm more trouble than I'm worth? I fully admit that I am my own worst enemy. I have a habit of criticizing instead of praising myself; seeing the mistakes instead of the successes. Does this mean I should ignore it when I make a mistake? No, because I think mistakes are what lead to growth. But I can get rid of the derogatory comments I make when I mess up and replace those with self-forgiveness. I can see what lesson the Universe was trying to teach me rather than fighting a battle I cannot win.
3) Contributions -- How Much Have You Given? -- Ahhh, yes, self-care. I've talked about this one in previous blog posts. The bottom line is that a lot of us are people pleasers. We were raised to believe that we should give to everyone else -- take care of everyone else -- before we take care of ourselves. Of course, at the end of the day, we have nothing left to give. So we get left off of our 'people to take care of' list. But if you can't commit to give to you, to take care of you, then pretty soon you have nothing left but a broken shell of who you used to be. I did that for the first 40 years of my life. Then I decided to take some of that caring energy back. I came to realize that when we take care of ourselves first, we have much more left to give. I'm not always successful at this, mind you. I still struggle with my people-pleasing tendencies. But I made a commitment last Fall to do something just for me each day. Even if it's a three-minute meditation, it's better than nothing. And on a good day, I get 30 minutes to an hour just for me. Time for you, just you. Now that's making a contribution and a commitment to yourself.
4) Choices -- What Are Your Alternatives? -- Up until recently, I went for the alternative to making a commitment to myself. I made commitments to everyone else. Have a problem? I'll fix it for you. Need someone to listen to you? I'm your girl. But commit to me? No, thank you. If you commit to yourself and rely on yourself, then who are you going to blame when things go wrong? Of course, I blamed myself anyway - for my own problems and everyone else's as well. So at the end of the day, choosing to commit to others instead of myself wasn't working out so well for me.
So how do you make a commitment to yourself?
1) Value yourself above others -- you matter. You are a wonderful person. It's time that you see that about yourself. Make a list if you have to. If you come up blank, ask your friends what they value about you. You might learn something about yourself.
2) Don't hold back -- not when it comes to you. You deserve your commitment, your time. It's not selfish; it's survival. It's taking care of you so you can take care of others.
3) Make a contribution to yourself -- think of it like tithing. Invest 10 percent of what you earn, 10 percent of your time back in you. Get that massage; spend a few minutes (or half an hour) meditating or doing something you truly enjoy each day. Play a little bit more and work a little bit less. You deserve it.
4) There are no alternatives -- you only get one body, one life, one chance. Use it; don't abuse it.
Here's to making a commitment to YOU. Let me know how it goes.