Another New Year means another litany of resolutions: lose weight, exercise, earn more money, stop eating sugar, and so on.
These resolutions all have something in common—they are about improving how you feel on the inside by doing something on the outside. However real and lasting, change doesn’t happen from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. So if you want to change something about yourself, the first and most important step is simple, profound, and life-altering:
Commit to you.
What does that mean?
Most of us, especially women, know about commitment. We commit to hiding or exaggerating our flaws, trying to make others happy or comfortable at the expense of our happiness and comfort, supporting other people’s dreams at the expense of our own dreams, or criticizing ourselves (and others) at every turn. We commit to who we think we should be rather than committing to meeting ourselves where we are. We commit to seeing ourselves through other people’s eyes, gauging our self-worth based on their acceptance, rather than witnessing our unique inner beauty and strength.
The true keystone of committing to yourself is very simple: Learn to love all of who you are, flaws and all. You commit to yourself to the same extent that you are willing to release the past and any ideas that you are holding that you “should” be different than you are at this moment. Our deepest healing occurs when we learn to be our own best friend, companion, and cheerleader.
When your words, thoughts, and actions foster self-abuse and self-judgment, you are using your immense power against yourself. This type of emotional, mental, and physical denial can take many forms: saying yes when you really mean no, being in relationships that don’t nourish you, thinking and believing thoughts that drain your energy and enthusiasm, or eating foods your body doesn’t like. And making resolutions that you then judge yourself for not keeping.
When you commit to you this doesn’t mean you don’t make resolutions or work to improve your health, attitude, and relationships. But when you first commit to loving and supporting yourself fully, and then you set an intent for something you want to transform, you gather up your immense power with joy, curiosity, and patience rather than frustration, judgment, and struggle.
Each time we recommit to ourselves, things change on the inside. We begin a process of realigning ourselves to our authentic power, and holding ourselves in a new way.
Today, make a commitment to yourself, not to the person you wish to be in the future, not to the person you were in the past, but to the person you are in this moment.
The most important relationship you have is your relationship with yourself. May you be gentle, loving, and fiercely supportive of yourself, this year and all the years to come.
Here are four ways to commit to YOU:
Let go of your old image of perfection
Most of us have many voices inside of our heads telling us all the ways we are not good enough, smart enough, young enough, old enough, or something enough. When we take actions to try and placate these voices and be “perfect,” we are making choices from fear. Instead, every single day practice accepting yourself for who you are now, and let your actions come from self-love and self-respect. The result will be compassionate discipline and creative transformation.
Do more of what you love
We often commit to putting others first and ignoring our own needs and desires. Make this year about doing more of what you love, whatever that is. I love running down hallways (it makes me giggle!), long walks in nature, and wild dancing. What do you love? If you are not sure what you love to do, get curious about what lights you up. Give yourself permission to do things just for you.
Create a commitment ceremony
Set aside some time to commit to you. Start by taking a bath or a shower and sending love to yourself as you wash your body. Imagine that you can wash away the self-rejection and judgment. Dry yourself off and dress in something you love, something that makes you feel powerful or happy. Sit in front of a mirror, look into your eyes, and apologize for any ways you have gone against yourself. Then state out loud what you are committing to for yourself: I commit to learn to love you, I commit to forgive you, I commit to no longer comparing you to others. Commit to no longer abandoning you. Commit to being your own ally. Let the words come without thought. Then go out and have a date with yourself doing something you love.
Keep coming back to you
It will take time to rebuild your relationship with yourself, especially if you have been neglecting, judging, or comparing yourself for years. Anytime you notice you are judging yourself or wishing you were different, stop and take a breath. Put one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Take another breath. Notice if you are going into the past or jumping into the future and come back to this moment and this time, accepting and showing up with who you are right now. Then ask yourself: What is the next little action I can take that will support me? Practice committing to yourself today and 365 days a year.
HeatherAsh Amara is the bestselling author of Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman You Are Meant to Be and her latest, The Warrior Goddess Way. She travels the world working with groups of women to integrate the feminine wisdom of the ancients into their modern lives. Visit http://heatherashamara.com/
This article is a part of the 2016 Holiday - Radical Generosity issue of Whole Life Times.