Sunday, November 08, 2009
A Commitment to Myself
Never in my life have I had difficulty committing to anything... until today.
"Finding Angela Shelton" - Day Four...
As I've already mentioned, I have had problems in the past setting boundaries. Because of the fact that I never really had a clear sense of self, I did anything and everything I could possibly do in order to please everyone I came into contact with. I lived in constant fear that people would hate me if I didn't cater to their every whim. This boundary-setting issue has led me to make many, many commitments that I never should have made.
There's the time I was asked to lead the choir at church. When our choir director skipped out on us, we were at a loss. During an "emergency" meeting, somehow it was decided that since I had the best voice in the bunch (according to them), I should be the interim choir director. I had been a member of Kentucky's All-State choir two years in a row in high school, and the choir members had never forgotten it. I'd had no formal music instruction beyond the six months of piano lessons I had taken at the age of 15. I could barely read music. I was a newlywed. I was pregnant. I was suffering from constant nausea and most days I could barely hold my head up. I was exhausted. But instead of telling them that I wasn't qualified or up to the task, feeling obligated, I committed to be the best choir director I could be. Needless to say, it was a disaster. I tried, but I failed miserably. Looking back on it now I can laugh... but it was one of the most stressful times in my life.
There's the time I volunteered to read an acquaintance's first novel. Her manuscript had been accepted by a publishing company. She had received her final "proof "and wanted some feedback on her work before she sent it back to the company for printing. Upon reading the first two pages, I realized she was being scammed. I looked the publishing company up online and found that there were a myriad of complaints registered on a consumer website that warned potential authors against scammers. It was obvious that no one had edited this book. I did the right thing, and let her know that I had seen several misspellings and errors on just the first few pages. I suggested that she contact the company and ask them to actually edit the manuscript. She immediately asked me if I would volunteer to correct the mistakes for her. I had just had my second child. The birth had been traumatic and I had spent six brutal weeks in recovery from the emergency surgery that had brought him into this world. I was preparing myself for another surgery and dealing with the fact that the doctor had advised me never to get pregnant again due to the complications I had suffered. I was in the process of adjusting to being the mother of two children instead of one, and I was overwhelmed. Rather than telling her that there was no way I could comfortably take on this responsibility, I said yes. I spent days editing and rewriting and correcting errors. I got migraines from the stress I was under. When I finished the edit/rewrite, we met in a parking lot so that I could turn the proof over to her. She sent me an email thanking me for the help and singing my praises for all the grueling work I had done to improve the story. Her book was published about two months later, and I haven't heard from her since.
I could tell you hundreds of stories like these. I have always over-committed. So why do I have such a problem making a commitment to myself?
Today's task is to make a commitment to myself to let go of the things that are hindering my healing, and receive something in return. (There's even a beautiful commitment declaration to download and print.) So why is this so difficult for me? I don't know, but I'm sure it's high time to find out. So this is what my commitment declaration says:
I am ready to receive the courage it takes to stand up for myself and care for myself and love myself unconditionally. I am ready to receive the benefits of self-discovery. I am ready to commit to myself and my journey.
I am willing to let go of the negative self-talk, the self-harm, the bitterness, the manipulation, and the excuses I have used for so many years to deny myself the privilege of knowing who I really am.
Commitment made on Sunday, November 8, 2009.
Well, I guess that wasn't so bad. This commitment to myself actually leaves me with a little flutter of hope. Hooray for little victories!