Last night I did two activities that are both very, very good for me and both of which I haven’t done for a long, long time. I’m not entirely sure what prompted me to suddenly pack my after-work schedule full of self-care activities but I do know that I felt so drastically better afterwards that it made me think about why it had been so long since I’d done these things. The most immediate insight was simply that I haven’t been taking very good care of myself lately.
This led me to review my challenge for this year to see how it ties in. For those of you who don’t remember, it was to accept. The primary idea being that acceptance would rid me of the judgment which shrouds me in a thick cloak of negativity.
After the night I just had and some other thoughts I’ve been bouncing around lately, I feel that I need to amend that. Because lately, I have been accepting too much. I’ve accepted that there’s nothing wrong with a day off from exercising or reading or writing or any of the other activities that are so important to my self care regiment. I’ve accepted myself for sitting on the couch in front of the tv and just vegging because I had a tough day or was really tired or totally stressed out. In short, I’ve accepted a whole bunch of things that are not good for me.
The problem with acceptance in the context I’ve been employing it is that it allowed me to shirk my responsibilities. And that’s what karate and reading and writing and exercise are- responsibilities. Basic hygiene. Not for my mouth or my B.O. but for my mental health. These activities keep me sane, plain and simple. And when I don’t do them things tend to go very poorly for me.
Now, re-reading that entry on acceptance it’s clear to me that what I’ve been doing is not at all what I intended. I talked about all of these great activities that I wanted to do with the hope that doing them without judgment would lead me to excel at them. I didn’t talk about accepting a lack of action on my part and just excusing what is ultimately me being lazy about my own self care.
So I need to clarify the goal for myself. Acceptance is nothing without accountability. Because regardless of how tired or pissed off or headachey or just plain-old BLAH I’m feeling I still have to do what I have to do to take care of myself. I have to hold myself accountable for my own, personal responsibilities.
Accountability is what has kept me at karate year after year when I would far sooner just go home and “relax”. Accountability is what got 211 blog posts out of me last year. Accountability is what has gotten me to spew forth word counts greater than I could possibly imagine every November. Accountability is what has kept me plugging away at my reading challenge for this year. And in a broader context, accountability is what makes me get my sorry ass out of bed every morning and go to work- it keeps me employed.