I’ll start this post by saying that everyone deserves love.
This isn’t one of those posts that casts blame on you for not receiving love from others. This also isn’t one of those posts that claims that you don’t deserve to be loved until you love yourself.
Having said that, I believe wholeheartedly in focusing all energy on what you can control, versus focusing on what you can’t. If you find yourself constantly wondering why people aren’t honouring your wishes or desires, or why people always let you down, perhaps it might be a good idea to face yourself — and figure out whether you’ve been the practical example of how others treat you.
Not because it’s your fault, but because you are worthy of respect and love from yourself, first.
Starting the research on rituals, I realized I did not have a single one for myself. How could I expect an enormous corporation to have one for me?
It brought me back to this piece that you’re reading now, which I’d created a title for, and then kept open in a tab (sound familiar?) “for another day”. While that particular quote was about work-related stuff, it reminded me that we teach people how we want to be treated, based on the practical boundaries we set.
Not the verbal ones.
Setting verbal boundaries is akin to neo-Nazis saying “But I’m not racist; I have black friends”. Or a child with sugar on their hands telling you they really didn’t eat that donut. Awful similes aside, it reminds me of what my acting coach always said: “Quit ‘splaining.”
Why tell someone they can’t treat you a certain way, when you could simply choose to cut a person out after they disrespect you?
Verily, words are sometimes the idle coward’s favourite weapon. But if a weapon doesn’t change anything, is it any more than a prop, or an excuse?
Since we teach others to treat us within the limits of the boundaries we set with our actions, wouldn’t the simplest practical boundary be the one where we lead by example? In a world where the majority of us were raised in a “do as I say, not as I do” household, I can imagine that this simple piece of advice will seem foreign to many of us in practice. I certainly struggle with this regularly — but the results of practicing self-respect are instantaneous and profound.
Go to sleep within an hour of the time you planned to sleep. In fact, keep your word about the things you say you’ll do when it comes to self-care. Keep your promises to yourself.
And don’t think you can get away from this by simply not making any promises to yourself.
Make yourself a daily promise, a weekly promise, and a monthly promise.
Do it. Now. I’m not kidding.
Make a promise now, out loud if you dare, to do something every day, every week, and every month to honour yourself. Put a reminder in your phone, and either be structured and decide what it is you’ll do — or go with the flow of life, and just decide what to do in the moment.
If you don’t know what to do to honour yourself, or you struggle with mental health issues getting in the way: think of the basic pyramid of self-care. Try to eat a nurturing meal once in a while. Have a night or two where you sleep before 10pm. Do a little bit of exercise for 5 minutes, even if it’s just a few squats or jogging on the spot — heck, even if it’s a tiny belly dance, it counts. Craft or buy something that will make your bedroom or home feel safer, warmer, and more cosy. Have a phone call with someone who encourages you or makes you feel good. Watch or read something that fills you up. Read or practice a passion of yours. Dip into that book that you’ve been wanting to read on self-improvement. Listen to 10 minutes of a podcast you keep saying you don’t have the time for.
I’m sure you may wonder how this will make a difference. If you’re like me, your lack of self-honouring may stem from your fear of failure — go big or go home, right? So if you can’t do an hour of yoga, and an entire book in a week, well, then, ha! Why bother at all – right?
Because 5 minutes a day of Pilates brought me more abs than the one planned hour I kept failing to do. Five minutes of belly dancing every day brought me more joy than that fitness class I kept meaning to go to. That one good meal or juice sustained me longer than beating myself up about the perfect diet I kept failing at.
And my baby steps of honouring myself resulted in me waking up one morning, looking at all the ways I wasn’t being honoured by others, and suddenly realising I no longer tolerate that.
But I knew that it wasn’t sudden. It was the result of little regular seeds of honouring myself.
So, dear reader: how will you plant a seed in your own honour today?
If you’d like to honour yourself in a big way, I help clients reconnect with – and celebrate – every part of who they are in unique experiences that combine shadow work and photography. For more info, click here – or, just follow your gut and start a conversation with me.