Hot on the trail of the strong response I received from my last blog on ‘How to Follow Your Heart’, I felt inspired to write this next message on the topic of commitment – more specifically, how committed you are to yourself.
One woman reached out to me to say this: “I read your message about following your heart and I cannot stop crying…because I know in my heart I am fighting the truth and have been ignoring my feelings.” Can you relate?
*Truly* following your heart requires a commitment on your part. And if you’re willing to commit to a healthy and loving relationship with your partner, then committing to a healthy and loving relationship with yourself should be easy, right? Well, maybe not.
Perhaps this is why so many marriages don’t last. I mean, how can one successfully commit their self to another when they haven’t even learned how to successfully commit to their self? It might not be ‘easy’, but it is absolutely possible.
To Marry One’s Soul
The following words are from Mark Nepo’s ‘The Book of Awakening’, and speak beautifully to the subject of self-commitment:
“If we are to live without silencing or numbing essential parts of who we are, a vow must be invoked and upheld within oneself. The same commitments we pronounce when embarking on a marriage can be understood internally as a devotion to the care of one’s soul: to have and to hold…for better or for worse…in sickness and in health…to love and to cherish, till death do us part.”
It’s crazy to think how many people are willing to speak these vows to a person outside of them, but struggle with the very thought of staying true to their own heart…as if it’s a good thing to care for another, but selfish to care for yourself.
Where did these crazy ideas begin? When did it become ‘the right thing to do’ to put other people’s feelings ahead of your own? To dismiss your own feelings solely for the sake of not hurting someone else? Who started the insane idea of sacrificing yourself in the name of love?
I don’t know who, what, when, where and how these ideas came to be accepted by so many, but I do know that they are just ideas. And just like any other idea, as an adult, you get to decide whether or not you believe it and whether or not it will empower you to live a life you love.
When you choose to marry your soul, you choose to live your best life. So from this day forward, until death do us part, be willing to commit to following your heart. Be willing to love yourself and step into your Greatness…It’s ready when you are!
Start Where You Are
Even if the idea of marrying your soul sounds like a distant dream at this point – like, ‘I don’t know how that would ever happen for me. I have no idea where to begin.’ – be willing to simply start where you are…and take one step at a time.
Maybe your first step is simply acknowledging that this message speaks to your heart and gives you hope.
Maybe your second step is to commit to paying attention to your feelings on a consistent basis, rather than only when it’s convenient. Perhaps you can start by setting a timer/reminder for morning, afternoon and evening to check in with how you’re feeling. Keep a journal for the next couple of weeks, and when your timer goes off, ask yourself questions like:
- Am I feeling present or distracted?
- Am I feeling peaceful or stressed out?
- Am I feeling fulfilled or empty?
- Am I feeling on purpose or am I just going through the motions?
- What one word would I use to describe how I’m feeling right now?
Ask yourself whatever questions you’d like. The idea here is to get to know your feelings and trust their ability to guide you.
Maybe your third step is to identify any patterns you see in your feelings journal and make a heart-informed choice on what you’d like to change, if anything. Or if you see patterns that you really like, choose to nurture those patterns even more than you already do.
The more you focus on circumstances and feelings that bring you joy, peace of mind, pleasure, etc., the more joyful, peaceful and pleased you feel. Yay!
The more you focus on circumstances and feelings that bring you sadness, disappointment, stress, etc., the more sad, disappointed and stressed out you feel. Boo!
Whatever you choose to put the majority of your focus on (your thoughts, feelings and actions) – whether it’s good, bad, wanted or unwanted – will continue showing up in your life experience. We’ll be talking about that more in my next mindful message.
For now, simply start where you are…and take one step at a time. Each step you take will lead you to the next.
For each new step, check in with your feelings. Ask yourself, ‘am I listening to my heart, or am I listening to fear or something other than my heart?’ Allow yourself to receive its guidance, and it will get easier and easier with practice.
Promise Never to Leave You
Bestselling author Sark said: “Marry yourself first — promise never to leave you.”
Another crazy idea that many of us have been conditioned to believe is that we’re a failure if we leave a marriage. I’m not suggesting that making a decision to leave a marriage should be taken lightly, but hello?!
What about those of us who have left ourselves – abandoned ourselves – because we didn’t/don’t want to be seen as a failure or someone who hasn’t tried hard enough?
I remember that feeling, and it sucked the life right out of me. Before I learned how to follow my heart, I was constantly dismissing my feelings in fear of being judged or not accepted by others.
After leaving a 13-year relationship that had me feeling way less than good about myself, I chose to never leave myself again. And yes, I’ve had many challenges since then that have given me opportunities to show just how true to myself I’m willing to be.
I’ll admit that I’ve tripped a few times. But because I’m committed to staying on the path of my heart’s desires, I’ve always been able to catch my balance, stand up strong and make choices that lead me to my next best step…even if it means I upset others in the process.
Sometimes, being honest will upset others, and you have to be okay with this. It’s better than lying to yourself and others, isn’t it? When you respect yourself enough to speak your truth, and you’re respectful about the way you communicate that truth, you are in alignment with your heart and the essence of love.
Remember the woman I mentioned earlier? The one who said she couldn’t stop crying because she knows in her heart that she’s been fighting the truth and ignoring her feelings. She and I had a coaching session soon after, and here is some of what she discovered as a result:
“I never believed what I was feeling was right. I realize I have NEVER gave myself a chance to believe in myself. I believed that if I gave it all I thought things would always get better, But it never did. I took the brunt of someone else’s