[This article about the ultimate commitment was previously published on AffirmingSpirit.com. It has been revised and updated for the enjoyment of blog-readers.]
The Ultimate Commitment is the most important commitment you will make in your lifetime.
When we think about important commitments in our lives, we usually think of things like marriage, children, career, family, and so forth. No doubt, all of those are important, but what is the value of these commitments when one isn’t living well, not eating healthy or exercising, have no time for yourself or your thoughts, and are in a constant state of stress and/or survival mode?
The Ultimate Commitment
The ultimate commitment is the one most often forgotten: Commitment to Self. When I use the word Self, I am not talking about mindless selfishness or the-world-revolves-around-me narcissism. I am talking about the commitment to all of you: Your body, mind, and spirit, and the on-going well-being of all three. Another term for this is self-care.
Making the Time
Women, particularly, often find it easier to commit to helping others than to helping themselves. The irony is that we are really failing those we love and want to help when we haven’t taken care of our own needs first. The woman who makes certain she has regular self-care is not only happier, but also the one who then has the most to give others.
Your overall well-being, including mental attitude, nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and good sleep are the foundation for creating success in other areas of your life. A small amount of time each day invested in taking care of all of you, body-mind-spirit, will pay rich dividends. When you nurture these aspects of who you are, you will feel a deeper sense of gratitude that connects you better to those around you and to your passions. Your commitments to marriage, children, career, and family will feel like less of a burden, and more of a blessing. Everyone around you benefits.
Taking care of oneself is actually one of the least selfish things you can do.
Change the World
Looking for a way to build a better world? Begin where you are by focusing on making yourself happy. The ripple effect will transform those around you, and those around them, and so on!
When I was a newly-single mother trying to juggle a full-time job with motherhood, I was fortunate enough to participate in a single-parenting support group. The first session, the counselors told us that we each needed to find time for ourselves everyday to fill up our ‘Mommy’ bank—that never-ending source of unconditional love and support that our children need and draw upon.
At first, this made no sense to me and even seemed selfish. But, then I started noticing…on the days that I had a chance to exercise or have quiet time to myself, I was much happier around my son and his behavior seemed more manageable. What appeared as better behavior was, in part, due to my calmness around him coupled with an enhanced ability to cope when issues arose. Both of us benefited when I committed to my own self-care.
Since that time, I have made a commitment to take care of myself, and have watched my son grow into a happy, motivated, high school junior. There were ups and downs along the way, but what kept me sane and grounded was the time I took to take care of my body, mind, and spirit. I’ve never regretted the time I took to take care of myself so I could be a better parent, but I can’t say the same about other activities.
The Self-Care Secret
Recently, the Oprah Winfrey show featured women who looked young for their age. All of them had these things in common: They had positive mental attitudes, exercised regularly, took good care of their skin, and spent their days doing things that they truly loved. The show was incredibly inspiring, and proved that taking care of yourself not only makes life more enjoyable, it keeps you looking younger, and makes you more healthy!
If you are feeling resentful of the demands on your time, this is your wake-up call to make a shift. Take time to notice what’s working, and what’s not. Release what is no longer working for you, and make a plan to do more of what is working for you! I can’t make this change for you. Your neighbor can’t make any changes. It’s all up to you.
Your current and future health and well-being rest on your commitment to self. Regardless of how much you have to change, the good news is that you don’t have to do it all at once. Start by making one change a week. You can easily change one aspect of your life this week, and get the ball rolling.
Affirming Your Best
One of the best ways to nurture a positive attitude is by creating and using positive affirmations. Feeding your mind a steady diet of positive thoughts is a very powerful and effective way of building your self-esteem and creating positive change for your life. The brain does not know the difference between reality and perceived reality, so as you read and say affirmations repeatedly, the brain begins to see it as reality.
Even more important is the emotion behind those words and thoughts. Heart science has proven that positive thoughts combined with emotion causes our heart, and the electro-magnetic field it generates, to vibrate in coherence. This coherent state causes all the organs of the body to function better as well as the release of beneficial hormones in the brain. Our body literally *shifts* energetically to embrace positive change!
Change, in itself, is neither good nor bad. Change is what we make of the experience. For example, underweight people might be happy for weight gain, whereas overweight people would not be so enthusiastic. How you feel about the change in your life is key to how you will experience it.
Change can be daunting unless you prepare your mind for the process, which is precisely what affirmations can do for you. When you say your affirmations, do you feel uplifted and happy? If so, you know that you are ready for that change to take place. If not, either the wording of the affirmation or it’s intention, the meaning behind the affirmation, is not aligned with what you really want.
For instance, if you say you want to lose weight, but sub-consciously feel it’s too difficult, then no amount of affirmations will allow you to experience weight reduction. The counter-intention (that it’s too difficult) is too strong!
When you are able to recognize the need for change(s) and feel motivated to experience them, you are at a place where affirmations will be most effective in helping you make the change. The good news is that you can’t really make a mistake, so it’s worth reaching for the experiences (and affirmations) that make your heart sing.
Not motivated, yet? Don’t beat up on yourself.
Procrastinating—or not feeling motivated to take action—is just a sign that your vision and your reality are not quite aligned. Relax and think about what you really want. When you are ready, inspiration and motivation will be effortless, as will be taking the appropriate actions. We’ll be there for you when you are ready to make the Ultimate Commitment.
For those who are ready, click here to download a few PDF pages that will start you on your journey.