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The First Step to Self-Care Revisited

This is a follow up to our 6-part series on self-care. If you haven’t read the others, here are the links:
The First Step to Self-Care
Self-Care Part 2
Self-Care Part 3: Sustainable Change Begins
Self-Care Part 4: Getting from Here to There
Self-Care Part 5: Letting Go of Your Stories
Self-Care Part 6: Realistic Goals

This question came in earlier this week from Nadine and I thought that there might be one or two others of you who may benefit from exploring this tool.

“Hi Michelle,
I just went through the exercise and I was struck by something. I feel pretty solid in most of my roles except that of me as an individual. In that role I had a long list of things I would like to do…be more artistic, eat better, exercise more, watch less TV, read more, meditate etc… These are things that I have always judged myself as coming up short, and given that this was the only role that needed improvement I couldn’t help but wonder if this was just me expecting perfection from myself. Me not doing those things allows me to be judgmental of myself. How do I tell if it is something to move towards or something to try to let go of?

Nadine”

Thank you for the great question Nadine.

How do you tell if the things you press yourself to do or be are things you genuinely want for yourself or if they are just the good old Drill Sgt’s way of keeping that old P.L.A. (Permeating Level of Anxiety) alive?

I find that usually if I’m giving myself a hard time for something it’s because in some way I feel I’m out of integrity. It may not be at all related to the thing I’m questioning about myself.

Let’s take the T.V. as an example.

Try a Drill Sgt. dialogue exercise when you hear your inner harasser getting on your case about how much you’re watching:

You: “Drill Sgt., what’s your intention in saying that? What are you trying to achieve in telling me I watch too much T.V.?”

Drill Sgt response: _____X________________

You: “Okay, and what’s important about X?”

Drill Sgt response: _____X________________

You: “And what’s important about that?”

You just keep on asking “what’s important about…” until you feel a shift within. That’s how you know that you’ve got to the root of the issue and you now know what the intention of the Drill Sgt. is in giving you a hard time about T.V. (or anything else for that matter).

Now that you understand what’s really going on within you, you are in a position to decide to take some action or to simply reassure yourself that your life is in balance; that everything is coming along nicely; that you don’t have to fret or worry anymore; that you can trust yourself to maintain the changes you’ve made.

Sometimes our loving D.S. is just stuck in auto pilot and doesn’t realize the war is over. In those cases all he needs is a little acknowledgment (“I appreciate your intention, and everything is okay.”)

Sometimes he is helping us to be more aware of places where we still lack integrity – whether outwardly or inwardly.

The Drill Sgt. dialogue will help you identify which is which and that will help you answer the question of whether or not there is some action you need to take.

And remember, the more you dialogue directly with your Drill Sgt. rather than shutting him down, the less anxious you’ll feel overall and the more you will naturally dialogue with yourself in respectful ways and tones to the point where you are truly filled with love and respect for yourself even when you’ve pulled a total bonehead move.

Let me know how it goes.

Love

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