Hate mail is a cowardly endeavor. Yet, I spent years reading and believing in the hate mail I was sending myself. Messages repeatedly sent saying I had more important things to do than taking time for self-care -- an email or a project or laundry.
These weren't written down anywhere. I wasn't consciously sending the messages. Each day, when I chose other things above the simple decision to take care of myself, I wrote another letter. With a job I love and a wonderful family, these choices and sacrifices felt worth it. I was prioritizing what I thought was most important despite the fact that I know to be our best, at home and work, means taking care of our physical well-being.
In the past six months, I have made small changes to make my health and myself a priority. Human beings don't react well to radical change and it is hard to sustain. Smaller changes, implemented one or two at a time, are easier to turn into long term habits. Building new habits, one by one, is how I plan to stop the flow of hate mail.
The first change I made was the foundation for the ones that followed. Each morning, I write my "to-do" list. It's not an uncommon habit. The few minutes spent doing it allows me to organize my day and figure out where to start.
On impulse one morning, I put my name as the first item on the list. I took a few minutes while finishing my morning cup of tea to think about that impulse. It was the first piece of fan mail I sent to myself.
I thought about what my subconscious was telling me. For the first few days, that was all I did. Put my name first. Then, I began to think about what I would need to do to feel that I could cross that item off and consider myself taken care of for that day.
In the weeks that followed, I put actions behind that item. Those are each their own story and stories for another time. However, those other small changes tie back to this first daily habit.
1. Put your name here...