Guest post by Jennifer Santoro // Read about Jennifer here.
A couple years ago I made the decision to do something a bit out of the box. I decided to perform a Self-Commitment Ceremony for myself. I had gone most of my life putting my attention towards others, but continuously ignoring myself. I also developed a pretty impressive amount of negative self-talk about myself…which led straight to an experience of deep depression.
The darkness I found myself in ended up being no joke. It was absolutely debilitating and I lost most of my will. I wanted off this human experience. It felt like too much. And, I’ll never forget the ‘little voice’ that whispered, “CHOOSE YOU.”
I had delved into so many life experiences, but I had never consciously chosen to love, honor, and respect myself before. I never knew how. We don’t exactly live in the most self-loving society at the present moment, if you know what I mean? So when the little voice whispered, “CHOOSE YOU,” all I could ask was, “But, how?”
And, there was a moment where I had a vision of a wedding. It wasn’t a wedding where I was marrying someone else, but instead I was marrying myself. I remember thinking to myself, “Well that takes beginning to understand ‘loving myself, before I can love another’ much more tangible. I should try ‘marrying’ myself first.” And, I remember thinking, “Well what do I have to lose?” … and so I went into wedding planning mode.
I was SHOCKED at how many of my loved ones supported me! I had made little invitations that I emailed out, requesting for prayers of support as I dedicated to the journey of discovering self-love. 56 individuals chose to hold space for me on the day of my ceremony wherever they were in the world. I thought they would think I was crazy, but instead they responded with the over arching message “YOU! Of all the people in the world deserve YOUR LOVE!”
On the summer solstice I went to one of my favorite spots, went into meditation, and took vows to love, honor and respect myself. It was one of the most defining moments of my life. I knew that by taking vows I wouldn’t be willing to break them, so whenever the negative self-talk began after my self-commitment, I would tell myself, “No. I made vows that I would choose to love, honor and respect myself. What is a loving and respectful thought instead?”
It’s been a moment-by-moment, day-by-day, and now year-by-year process. I have witnessed a deep inner peace become stronger and stronger within myself. I have also witnessed the relationships I have with others become more connected and even more loving than I could have ever imagined. It really IS true! The more I have developed a healthy love for myself, the more my ability to have a healthy love for others and receive their love has increased. It is truly an amazing experience to now witness my life become richer and fuller, and I know it is because of living from this space of healthy self-love.
Conducting a Self-Commitment Ceremony was hands down the most powerful and influential life decision I have ever made. I recommend it for everyone! It has been the birthplace of discovering my best self and best life.
And, so I say to you… Choose you. YOU of all the people in the world deserve YOUR LOVE.
With great love and respect, Jennifer