Self Honoring

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In real terms, what would it mean to become intentional about honoring yourself and the life you’re living? Putting that another way, in measurable or observable ways, what would have to happen to put self-care at the top of your list and keep it there?

Join me this week as we consider the imperative of taking exceptional care of ourselves on an everyday basis.

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We go out of our way to make a fuss over other people. We throw our arms around them and greet them warmly. We make sure to take good care of them. We communicate with them clearly and directly. We give them a place to stay when they need it. We openly embrace them and don’t hesitate to lavish them with kindness or affection.

If they’re cold, we’re willing to give them the coat of our back. If they’re feeling lonely, we’ll sit with them for hours on end. We’ll happily cook a meal for them or throw them a party or drive them wherever they need to go. We honor and praise them for their achievements. And when they’ve accomplished something particularly significant, we hold a ceremony and hand them diplomas or awards.

In short, there’s no end to the ways we open our hearts and show goodness to the people we care about, or for that matter, to total strangers. For most of us, behaving kindly is an outer demonstration of how we are made.

That being the case, how is it that treating ourselves the same way can seem as challenging as learning a new language or juggling while blindfolded or thread a needle in the dark?

It baffles me sometimes.

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The example I’ll share with you may seem a bit odd, but stay with me and I’m sure you’ll see my point. I’m also sure that I’m far from alone, even though the details may vary.


photo: Scott Lennox


Years ago, I was doing the dishes when I got that quiet little “signal” we’re all familiar with. You know, the one that tells us it’s time to stop and go to the bathroom. But I was busy and chose to wait ‘til I finished what I was doing. As I dried the last of the dishes, I glanced out the window and saw that I hadn’t coiled the hose or hung it up after watering the flowers. So, I went out and took care of it.

The little signal went off again, but I told myself I could wait.

No sooner had I finished putting the hose in its place when I remembered what day it was and that I needed to roll the trash cart out to the street for pick up in the morning. As I walked around the side of the house, there was the little signal again, but it was stronger than before.

Once again, I chose to ignore it. I was busy.

When I reached the street, my next-door neighbor came out of his garage and asked me to help him lift a few heavy things into the back of his truck. Since it was obviously a two-person task, I willingly pitched in. As we were finishing, the repeating signal was no longer a quiet little nudge, but an urgent alarm that had me wondering if I could get reach the bathroom in time.

Looking back, it would have taken no more than a minute to stop doing the dishes and take care of the matter when I was first aware of it. Two minutes, max. But as was so often the case in those days, I let other things get in the way until I reached the point where there was no putting off what needed to happen.


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As I suggested earlier, my example may sound a bit silly, but each time I tell this story to medical professionals when I give group presentations about the importance of self-care, I get the same response. Invariably, someone will say, often with a bit of embarrassment, “I’m glad to know it’s not just me.” It probably won’t surprise you that others chime in and make the same admission.

Not taking elegant care of ourselves may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but the problem we’re considering is a very serious one. The issue is not about being too busy, or absent minded, or overly altruistic.

It’s about self-neglect, and that is a big deal.

Sadly, the longer I counsel with people, the more variations I hear on the same theme. Over and over, I listen as people describe their long-running habit of putting themselves last.

The fact is, whether we’re doing it consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, every time we put our own needs aside, we’re dishonoring ourselves. When we don’t give ourselves the rest or the food or the exercise we need, we dishonor ourselves. When we don’t show ourselves the kindness we go out of our way to show others, we dishonor ourselves. When we keep ourselves isolated and refuse healthy social support, we dishonor ourselves. When we spend no time at all in the mental and emotional stillness of what I call “conscious neutral,” we dishonor ourselves. When we don’t speak our own truth in our own voice, we dishonor ourselves.

It reveals itself in a thousand different ways.

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Experience has shown me that discovering where and how we learned to put ourselves last is nowhere near as important as doing healthy things to change our habits for the better.

So, let’s look there.

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I remember the day I realized that is costs no one else a single thing for me to honor myself and take good care of myself. I’m not depriving anyone or taking anything away from them. In fact, the more I honor myself in healthy ways, the more capable I am of genuinely loving and caring for others.

What that reality as a backdrop, here are a few Beautiful Questions to help inspire you to honor the immeasurable gift of your own life.

One: What small things can you do for yourself on a daily basis that when added together will contribute to your wellbeing?

Two: What kind and supportive things can you begin to do for yourself that you’ve been regularly doing for others?

Three: What honest statements of gratitude or acceptance or praise can you tell yourself on a daily basis?

Four: What would help you move self-honoring to the top of your list and keep it there?

Five: As you make self-honoring a regular part of your daily experience, what will change in the ways you feel?

As always, I’d love to hear what happens as you consider these questions and then take the actions they inspire in you. Write and tell me about them.

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As I say each week,
My Light with Your Light

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Thank you for joining me in these podcasts as we keep doing everything we can to respond to life in increasingly effective ways. As always, I’m open to your comments and feedback.

If you find these podcasts useful, don’t hesitate to share them or tell others about them. That’s a great way of helping me get a voice of calm and collaboration and balance and encouragement out into the world.

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I’m Scott Lennox, and this has been The Beautiful Question.

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The Beautiful Question is a One Light production, written, produced and engineered by Scott Lennox at HeartRock Studios in Fort Worth, Texas, as a way of paying forward to life, being fully present, becoming better engaged with things that truly matter in a complex world, and committing to a healthier future for all of us.

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