As Valentine's Day draws near, your thoughts might be turning to romance. Yes, love is in the air, and with love comes commitment. I'm not just talking about to your sweetie but to yourself. To love yourself means to commit to yourself. Committing to taking care of yourself both physically and mentally.
When things get hectic and deadlines loom, often the first thing to be compromised is our health. We skip yoga class because we have to work late or we're just too tired to go after a long day. We pick-up fastfood on the way home instead of washing and preparing the veggies that are already in the refrigerator. We veg-out on the couch in front of the TV because it's easier than sitting quietly to reflect on the day. However, it's when we are stressed and under pressure that our bodies and minds most need good food, exercise and relaxation.
Committing to yourself doesn't have to be about rules and regulation, self-discipline and guilt. Diets and exercise regiments fail because they are looked upon as restrictions instead of loving acts of kindness towards ourselves. We think that we need to shape-up, get it together and follow a plan but really we just need to be compassionate towards ourselves. We need to listen to our bodies which will tell us what we really need.
Compassion can mean tough love though. You might decide to go to yoga class even when you are tired with the understanding that you don't have to push yourself to do your very best poses. You might do the modified versions that night instead. It might also mean picking up a salad on the way home instead of burger for dinner. Many quick-serve places have healthier options now, we just have to choose them.
Commitment isn't easy whether it be a romantic relationship or to yourself. Often commitment is what holds everything together when life gets challenging. Commitment is how we sustain ourselves in adversity not just when it's convenient and fits into our schedule. I've been learning this in a very personal way with a husband who has been working 16 hour days lately (and not by choice.) There have been times when I've complained to God that this isn't fair and that a marriage can't grow under such conditions. Unfortunately, God answered back that marriages that aren't challenged don't grow. So much for my righteous indignation.
It's true though, life's challenges are what help us grow and commitment is what we need to keep growing in the midst of the challenge. Think about that the next time you are tempted to "cheat" on yourself with unhealthy foods and practices. Don't let guilt weight you down because guilt is counter-productive. Instead ask yourself honestly what you truly need in that moment not just what you think will make you feel better or seems easiest. You might be surprised at the answer.