Just shy of two years ago, I approached an important life milestone for many women. I shook off my cold feet, I followed my heart and - I married myself. It was a beautiful commitment ceremony in Big Sur and it included sincerely written and carefully chosen Heart Vows. Soon after, many elusive dreams came to me and I realized I was on to something. My vows of self-love rocked my world and I can't keep it to myself any longer.
Ditch the self-help resolution.
I invite you to get radical this January and forget all about your self-improvement promises. After all, self-improvement is a multi-billion dollar industry (it took in $10.8 billion in 2012 according to a recent study by Marketdata Enterprises). Its profits come from manipulating you to feel "less than," a state of mind that doesn't reflect the truth. You don't need to lose any weight, make more money, find the one, or do anything else to prove to yourself, or others, that you are worthy.
You are worthy of your love exactly as you are.
Instead, start the year with taking a moment to appreciate yourself and to savor all that makes you precious. Often it's our little quirks and so-called flaws - our round belly, our gray hairs - that make us who we are. In fact, usually what we most reject in ourselves is what makes us loveable to others. Let's celebrate that, ladies. And let's stop thinking, "I must have
Rather, I invite you to step into the mirror and commit to this being your year to fall in love with you. Take in your beauty. We live in a world that tells us loving ourselves is narcissistic. That putting ourselves at the bottom of the to-do list is acceptable. What is truly radical is accepting yourself and all of your imperfections.
Design your new year with Heart Vows.
Next, I invite you to have a cup of tea and get even more radical. Instead of writing resolutions, consider what you want to let go of and design some Heart Vows. These are the intentions that will guide your year.
Want to toss out perfectionism? How about this: "I vow to practice self-acceptance and let go of the voice that tells me I must be perfect." Or, "I vow to practice deep self-love and no longer give special attention to the voice that tells me that I must have the one to be happy. I am choosing to be my own beloved."
As long as they are coming from a place of self-love, you can certainly include vows related to some of your lofty ambitions. Think more about how you want to feel. After all, what we really want is to feel happy. So instead of promising to lose 10 pounds, how about a vow "to treat my body as a temple and find pleasurable ways to exercise as well as be mindful of what I choose to eat." The key is to come from your most wise and loving self.
In other words, make a sacred vow of self-love - and the beautiful part is that it's only for you. You will make a commitment to love yourself. And why not? Loving and accepting yourself is a very courageous act. You can get creative with these vows or choose to keep them simple. You can do this whether you are married, single, dating, or anywhere else on the spectrum. If you hate the word "vow," think of these as intentions or promises.
Share the love.
After I took the leap and married myself, I watched my dreams unfold. The reason I am with my beloved husband today has everything to do with these sacred Heart Vows. We met shortly after I took them - and that's only one of many miracles. I experienced so many positive changes that I decided to share the self-commitment process with friends.
They started to see big shifts in their own lives. They began reclaiming passions, improving their businesses, and discovering a sudden ability to prioritize their self-care. Soon, I started leading a workshop where women married themselves. Again, the transformations were clear.
Claire followed her passion of working with women and started women's circles. Janet created a business empowering women with her brilliant self-defense classes. Lisa rediscovered her love of dancing after a 20-year hiatus and she's still shimmying away. Fran left a partner that was draining her and found someone who delights her heart. These were all a result of their unique Heart Vows.
So I invite you to join me in tossing out your resolutions and starting your year in a whole new way. Make these vows of self-love. Go ahead. I dare you. Marry yourself in 2014.