love, life, and the pursuit of liberation
Starting over can be a double-edged sword.
On one hand, you have the world and freedom at your disposal. You can reinvent yourself, you can try new things, you can redefine your tastes, you can experiment and get closer to your highest vision of yourself. On the other hand, it can be overwhelming. Basic routines and habits are all of a sudden new, and you are forced to think about every single decision from the most mundane “what am I going to wear today” to the most complex “what do I truly believe about God.”
So often I’ve felt paralyzed by the newness of my life right now, and as a result I’ve thrown myself 1000% into work. At too many moments I feel myself emotionally regressing. I find myself very sensitive to situations that might represent uncertainty, and I find myself wanting to hold on to silly things so that I can have something familiar. Case in point, the other day I accidentally got White Cloud toilet paper and was all upset that it wasn’t Cottonelle, which I’ve always bought for the past seven years. Buying furniture for my new apartment has been a daunting task because I’ve been so used to replicating Ikea’s showrooms so much so that forcing myself to decide what type of furniture I truly like has felt overwhelming. I actually had a whole struggle with not buying Ikea dish towels because even though I know they don’t really serve my needs, it’s what I always had!
I finally broke down and shared my thoughts with a friend, and she put it succinctly to me.
“You need to learn how to advocate for yourself.”
The truth is that self-advocacy outside of work has been extremely difficult for me, and now that I have the opportunity to live in my 100% truth, it’s frightening. It had been so much easier, even though it was painful, to let others make decisions for me or for me to be silent. That way, I didn’t have to inconvenience anyone or make them upset. In doing so, my best self wasn’t served, nor did I give myself the chance to really get to know me. Now I sit here at thirty-four years old and am trying to resist the temptation to go back to what’s familiar.
To help me along the way, I’ve thought about creating some agreements with myself to ensure that I’m always advocating for myself and living a life of integrity, especially when I’m tempted to regress.
I agree to take care of my physical body, as it represents how I value myself.
I agree to spend time each day with my Self. If I can prioritize work and my relationships with others, I should be able to prioritize myself.
I agree that when I feel overwhelmed to stop and calm my breath and mind, ask myself what’s most important, what are the facts in front of me versus the story I’m telling myself about them, what’s one or two immediate steps I can take, and what actions would honor myself the most.
I agree that I will communicate what I need and feel.
I agree to feed my spirit and develop my relationship with God.
I agree to make decisions that will serve me now and in the long-term, pushing myself past instant gratification.
I agree to say no or not right now when my plate is full. I will not eke out a little more time for solely someone else’s convenience.
I agree to be aligned my actions with my words.
I agree to be financially responsible.
I agree to be the best mother that I can be, knowing that I am serving as a model for my child and that all actions and choices that I make for her impact the woman that she will one day be.
I agree to revisit these agreements often and adjust them as necessary.