Taking responsibility for yourself is about self-care, not self repair. ~Vironika Tugaleva, The Art of Talking to Yourself.

I am precious, unique, and authentic.

Namaste’ Fellow Travelers,

My Camino journey last summer and the isolation offered with the pandemic has given me the perfect platform for getting in touch with my relationship with myself. Yet having the time is vastly different than actually doing it. For me, the two major hurdles are believing it’s okay to focus on me and then realizing I am the only one who truly knows me.

Instead, I get caught up in a never-ending question of maximizing how I spend my time, especially in how it relates to accomplishments and engaging with others. In relationship to others, I want to value my time with others and plan my schedule so I honor our time together in the best way possible. This includes consciously thinking about what else I commit to on a single day and how full my schedule is in general. Out of respect and love for myself, I also need to minimize my time with those who I do not feel connected to – for my benefit as well as theirs.    

Another aspect of a perfect relationship with myself is listening to that inner voice that alerts me to discomfort and irritability. These are signals that something is awry in how I am caring for myself. Personally, my biggest challenge is staying ahead of my people-pleaser tendency. My inclination is to suppress those thoughts and blame myself when uneasiness comes up. Ironically, I find myself most triggered to please the very people with whom I feel the least connected yet are still part of my life.

Next, and this is a really big piece, I must let other people live their own lives while I rest in the truth that I am the only one who can live mine. This includes spouses, parents, friends, co-workers, and grown children. Of course, as we are raising our family, we are responsible for offering love and whatever guidance feels needed, but once they enter the ranks of adulthood, I need to respect their ability to decide for themselves. The only one who can live a life is that person, and I need to honor that for myself and for them. When they do things with which I totally disagree, I need to step back and allow them the freedom to reap whatever lessons comes from that experience. If asked, I am happy to share my thoughts. Otherwise, I need to keep my beliefs, ideas, and opinions to myself.

Finally, I need to give myself permission to take time away from others and enjoy that time for re-centering and grounding. During this Camino journey and pandemic experience, I have had days of total isolation and while it felt odd at times, it also felt very peaceful. As a good friend has said and I totally agree, “I like my own company.”

By honestly and lovingly fostering and developing the perfect relationship with myself, I see the precious,unique, and authentic person who lives in this body. I see my own cherished soul that is the Truth of me. I recognize my fantastic qualities, and I accept that I am different from everyone else, which is a good thing. I give myself permission to be me, the person that Spirit intended me to be as I am the only one who can take on that job.

Last week we established the most important relationship we have is the one we have with ourselves. This week we are creating a picture of what our ideal vision of this relationship looks. Initially, upon considering this prospect, I started making a list of ways I could improve myself. Then I remembered, I am already precious, unique, and authentic. What if creating this perfect vision was simply a matter of seeing what is already there? Rather than creating a self-improvement list I want to strive for, I need to identify a checklist of my unique and terrific qualities.

Journal Prompt: To get the clearest vision of your most ideal relationship with yourself, create a chart with three categories: Positive Traits, Shows Up, and Great Feeling. Under the first category list at least twenty, that’s right, at least twenty qualities you like about yourself. As you create this list fill in the column indicating how that trait shows up in your life and how the demonstration of that trait makes you feel. Focus on the positive, so ‘no wanna be’ or ‘it would be nice if I did this or that’. Instead, direct your thoughts to the incredible person you already are. Here is an example of one of my traits: Adventurous (first column), I travel the world (second column), and I feel proud of accepting the daily challenges and rewards (third column). Then stop. Don’t try to figure out how to implement or solidify this incredible vision into your daily thinking because that is your work for the next journal entry.  

Affirmation: What is your positive affirmation from today’s writing? An example might be: I am always in all ways my own biggest fan.

Letter from your soul: Review your journal entry and your affirmation and write a letter from your soul to you reflecting on both. Address the letter with a term of endearment because that is how your soul sees you. Then allow the love that your soul has for you to pour out onto the page.

Buen Camino, Pat

Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out? ~Ian Wallace