Welcome to #31daysofselfcare2018

“One life is all we have, and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”  – Joan of Arc 

What powerful words from a young woman facing death because of her beliefs. As she went into battle, she said “I am not afraid…I was born to do this.”  Where someone gets that amount of strength of conviction is a wonder. Somewhere deep within there is a knowing that has not been squelched, but instead allowed to blossom forth.

Maybe I can relate to her conviction in small degrees. As a caregiver numerous times, there are aspects of the role that seems akin to doing battle. The confidence to take on the role and see it through has always been as natural as putting on armor would be for combat. It isn’t that the role has no challenges and times when I would instead be doing anything else but take care of someone, it’s that this is who I think we all are. We are all capable of taking care of someone. For me, I’m here to approve of my actions, and that means I can’t stand by when someone needs help, and I’m able. Conviction to self.

However, there’s a point where the willingness crosses the line, and we assume an over-developed sense of responsibility to save the world. That’s when we lose sight of our boundaries, and we say yes when we mean no. We think if we don’t take on the responsibility, no one else will. And when we start to feel resentment or fearful, we justify our action with “well, no one else was going to do it.” Really? Do we know that?

People may resent you for your conviction to self. Resentment comes from a lack of understanding. You can see it on someone’s face when you say “no, I can’t help you.” It’s as though lost was some presumed connection. When what has happened is you have opened the opportunity to either strengthen that relationship with a better understanding or you have the chance to move on to live your life with other connections and not sacrifice who you are.

Okay, so what do we have? Well, we have an uncompromising commitment to our dreams and ideas which come from our heart – you may say from the universe. You don’t have to “adjust your dials” to suit other people. BELIEVE that if the heart creates a dream, follow that. That which isn’t right isn’t going to feel bad. Not that some decisions won’t  make us feel sad for a time, but in the long run, the feeling is positive and without anger or resentment. Remember that when we allow things to fall away that no longer serve us, we create space for those things that do.

Guilt. DON’T allow “guilt” to make a decision. Who knows our heart better than someone else? NO ONE. No one who would guilt you into a decision.

Here’s the difference between a decision we make that allows us to live our life according to our beliefs, and one that doesn’t:

When we make a decision will it change our relationship with other people in our life for the negative or the positive? 

Has our decision been made because we feel obligated or because we feel a willingness to sacrifice should the occasion call for sacrifice?

When I decided to leave my home, business, and community to take care of a relative, I did it willingly. I didn’t feel guilty about my decision because I knew it was in line with my belief in living life on my terms.

Tools of the Trade!

  • Learning the feeling of security takes practice. Stand up to someone and if that someone sticks around then feel secure in your decision. If that someone doesn’t – still feel confident. Question what you lost and then decide if you lost anything. Boundaries work that way. They keep out what needs keeping out and in what needs keeping.
  • Test your boundary against the “Integrity Principle of Self-care”  It’s a combination of intention, word, and action. When these three are in harmony, we’ve made the right decision.
  • Be clear about your needs. What needs maintenance or replenishment? Do you need more affection or compliments? Do you need more time to yourself?
  • Be clear that inquiry is good! Placing blame or guilt is not. You want a place in making your own decisions.
  • List what you appreciate about yourself and have those things reflected in your relationships. Pull the list out to remind you.

How do boundaries look? They look like willingness to reach out and be honored and respected without expectation. Fulfill your dreams with the understanding that you are not responsible for other people’s dreams. That a healthy relationship with yourself and other people means support, not control.

YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE A WORLD THAT IS CONSISTENT WITH YOUR BELIEFS, AND IN DOING THIS, YOU WILL INSPIRE OTHER PEOPLE TO DO THE SAME.