Thursday, October 6, 2011

Self Honor vs. Self Indulgence

As I drove home from kickboxing, I felt gloomy and weak-kneed and regretted my decision to go to kickboxing over yoga. Sitting at a stop light, mentally growling at myself for making the wrong decision and then regretting growling in the first place because I'm practicing self-love, it dawned on me that I had already forgotten yesterday's lesson: stay true to yourself and try not to waste too much time wishing you could change things that are out of your control.

Which workout class I go do is very much in my control and therefore not a waste of time (or post). As I left work for class, I felt an overwhelming urge to go to yoga. Instead of listening to my gut telling me what my body needed, I told myself 'don't make excuses, we did yoga yesterday'. Now, instead of feeling that post-yoga 'I-can-take-on-the-world' glow (my teacher would call it vibrancy), I am physically exhausted from pushing myself too hard in an aggressive cardio class and mentally exhausted from arguing with myself that I wasn't actually that tired and could push harder.

But the point is not that I didn't go to yoga, it's that I confused honoring myself with indulging myself, which is not a very self-loving thing to do. Now stopping for fro-yo on the way home from class, that was self-indulgent (even if it is fat-free and low calorie!). But not honoring a gut feeling isn't being self-indulgent, it's not being true to myself.

I think sometimes we all find it hard to tell the difference.

Today, when I followed that little voice in my head, picked up the phone and called Greg's mom, despite my superficial worry that I would be bothering her, I was honoring my gut feeling. As it turns out, she was about to call me too! Being reminded that I am not alone in missing and loving Greg gave me the strength to get through the rest of my day.

Late last night, my Skype rang and I talked to Greg for the first time on his deployment. Deep sigh of relief! I held back tears the entire conversation and finally let them go the second we hung up. Being strong when I need to and allowing myself to break when I don't is honoring myself.

Acknowledging that I want to stay in bed all weekend and do nothing is honoring myself; not carrying on with my life and actually staying in bed all weekend is self indulgent.

So I think today's lesson is that every person's line between self honor and self indulgence is drawn in a different place and it's important to learn where your line is and walk on it. I think my line looks something like 'honoring my wants that empower me and denying the ones that appear to empower but actually hinder in the long run (i.e. ice cream when I'm trying to be healthier)'.

Where is your line?

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