The 5 Commitments, in writing
The following is a contract between you and yourself. This pact provides the seeds and tools for maintaining and sustaining love — both with yourself and with the people in your relationships.
1. My feelings of interest, anger, pain, shame, loneliness, frustration and joy are mine and mine alone. They are extremely valuable. No one makes me feel a certain way, but I certainly am impacted by others and their behaviors. These may incite different feelings in me. I have the right to share these emotions with others in an appropriate way. I have a right to be heard.
It matters when I feel loss. I need to express some of my feelings of anger, sadness, shame and pain. I will remember to express my deeper feelings with those who care about me.
The depth of my emotions originated in childhood. I suppressed these emotions in the past because my experiences and feelings had not been valued. At least, not in the way that I needed them valued. I will be mindful of not expressing myself in extremes or being abusive when I talk about my feelings — with myself, or with others.
2. If I do not value and have compassion for my feelings and my longings — and do not express them — I am in danger of developing a shadow. This is a dark side that is the carrier of deep, important parts of who I am — parts that will now become hidden. I am now in danger of becoming enslaved to my shadow and I am at risk of controlling and criticizing others for the very feelings and longings that I have denied within myself.
Staying true to my authentic voice, I do not need to hide in a shadow world. I can remain in the light of my authentic creative world. I have no need to impose my thoughts and feelings on others.
3. I am comfortable expressing my truth without controlling anyone else because I now value myself deeply. As long as I am expressing my truth — and have created relationships with those who care about how I feel and my longings — I feel secure and have no need to control or shame others. I have developed love and compassion for myself because this value system has been strengthened.
4. I have a right to receive compassion and empathy after expressing my feelings. I may not always receive these validations, but I have attracted loving people in my life who provide me with the essential empathy that I need.
I do not expect the people in my life to take responsibility for all of my feelings. They cannot always know which of their behaviors triggers my pain, shame, loneliness, anger, fear and joy. Nonetheless, those close to me care about how I am impacted. They are sensitive to who I am. That is good enough for me.
5. Now that I have deeply embraced my feelings and my longings, I am able to view others with love and compassion. I have reclaimed this love for myself. In this solid territory of truly seeing and valuing myself, I am now willing to negotiate my needs — while valuing the feelings and needs of others.
Now I am able to experience true intimacy in a world of interdependency. Not dependent, not independent, but interdependent.