Lately I’ve begun asking myself, “Does this honor me?” before I make a decision, especially if I feel unsure what to do.
When I ask if something honors me, I am talking about my core self: the part of me that houses my well-being, dreams, and passions—the part of me that is wisest and most whole.
For example, if I’m about to buy myself a brownie, I stop and ask myself, “Does this honor who I am?” And perhaps I’ll put the brownie down, knowing that I would feel worse about myself after eating it, and choose a banana instead. I know that wanting to eat the brownie in that instance does not honor what I really want and need. That said, there are times I will take the brownie, recognizing that my attempts to choose the banana are a form of self-sabotage. In those cases, I honor myself by rejecting the self-sabotage and offering myself a treat.
This can be used in a range of other examples: whether or not to take a mental health day, whether or not to entertain a certain thought, whether or not to exercise or play with the dog or take a nap or light a scented candle.
Before it even entered my mind to ask that question, I would base my decisions on what I thought I should do—on what I thought I deserved or what I thought was expected of me. I might even bully myself to make a choice I was unhappy with, thinking it was the right one and never stopping to ask if it honored who I was.
I might, for example, force myself to exercise when all I wanted to do was rest or dance or stretch or write. I might force myself to eat only certain foods or put down a small trinket I wanted to buy while on vacation. I didn’t know the difference between honoring who I was and indulging in behaviors that would dishonor who I was. In other words, I didn’t trust myself. I didn’t know I could ask myself what I needed and expect a solid answer from deep within. I instead listened to other outside voices to guide my course and then wondered why I felt guilty or sad or allowed myself to self-sabotage. I was doing the best I could, but I wasn’t listening to what I needed.
“Does this honor me? Does this honor who I am?”
Ask yourself that question today, and listen for the answer. If you’re like me, you won’t always understand right away what actions do and don’t honor yourself. Slowly, you’ll learn when you’ve made a decision that honors yourself and when you haven’t. You’ll learn to recognize your inner voice. Don’t beat yourself up, just listen. It takes time to build communication skills with anyone, be it a friend, family member, or pet. It takes time to build those skills with yourself as well, especially if you’ve been ignoring them or were never taught how to listen and honor who you are.
Be still. Close your eyes. Breathe deep. Think about a decision or action or thought that’s been poking at you, and ask yourself, “Does this honor me? How can I best honor myself in this situation?” Then listen, breathe, and honor the person you are.