When you hear or read the word sin, your mind automatically knows the meaning and you can easily imagine several examples of sin based on this definition. For me, sin is an acronym for Self-Inflicted Nonsense, which is any thought, action or belief that emotionally or physically harms or limits oneself or generates any feelings of discontent. This phrase first came to me after leaving my second husband. I vowed to myself that I would recognize and remove myself quickly from any situation that did not bring me joy. “No more SIN” became my new motto. A short time after that, I had been attending a small church where the members were bickering with each other and I found myself caught up in some drama. As soon as I finished a project that I promised to do (and really wanted to do), I walked away. No way was I going to stay in yet another situation that did not feed my soul, fill my heart with joy AND soothe my mind with peace. The “no more SIN” motto is a way to practice radical self-care and self-love. We are all seeking happiness and peace but participating in situations where feelings of anger, fear and/or frustration are the dominant emotions is doing yourself more harm than good and blocking your joy.
Sometimes, the SIN situation can be simple or just mildly annoying but removing yourself from it is still a big deal. As an example, I really dislike getting the puff of air/glaucoma test at the eye doctors. Several years ago, I had an appointment and told myself that I was going to be strong and “put on my big girl panties.” After the first attempt, I realized that being a “big girl” meant that I was NOT going to allow the doctor to do that test on me. Saying no felt so good! Now it’s easy to tell the doctor that I’m refusing that exam. Seems simple enough, but for some people or in certain situations, we find it challenging to speak up for ourselves; we put our comfort on the back burner. Are there any situations in your life where you are allowing someone else to do things to you that you are uncomfortable with? Practice “No more SIN.”
Sometimes there are those situations when you really want to say no but you say yes, that’s SIN. There are times, however, when a compromise is necessary. Only you can determine the difference between SIN and a compromise. What’s a SIN to one person may be a simple compromise to another. You may make the same compromise several times before it becomes a SIN.
“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside.” ―Stephen R. Covey
Is your “yes” radical self-care or SIN? Is your “no” radical self-care or SIN? How does your answer and response to a situation make you feel? Be careful not to confuse guilt or fear with making the “wrong” decision. Practicing self love means setting boundaries. If you know you made the right decision for your highest good, let go of the guilt. Radical self-care may sometimes feel like selfishness, but they are different.
Webster’s Dictionary defines selfish as: “1: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others 2: arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others <a selfish act>”
The definition of radical self care is putting your well-being first while considering other people’s feelings and circumstances; consciously evaluating your feelings and the situation to make the best decision for yourself.
Without radical self-care and self-love, you can become a doormat, easily manipulated, taken for granted and taken advantage of. All of which create a breeding ground for Self-Inflicted Nonsense. Radical self-care is you taking care of you first, so that you can take care of others later.
Are there situations in your life where the drama is unbearable? Where you feel stressed out or extremely uncomfortable around a specific person or group of people? Where you feel anxious or frustrated even just talking about the situation? If you can separate yourself from the situation but have not, you are practicing SIN. One of the best things about self-inflicted nonsense is that you have the power to stop it! You are in control of your life, your actions, your misery and your happiness. Some situations, like a job or co-workers, may not be as easy to walk away from. In those situations, change your perspective. Practice self reflection to see where your judgments are clouding how you see the circumstances. Sometimes the issue is with us, not the situations that are frustrating us. Only you can determine whether the situation at hand is SIN or an opportunity for personal growth…or both if you are lucky.
Always remember: You are the most important person in your life, so respect yourself enough to walk away from SIN. Seek peace, love and joy in all circumstances, no matter how difficult it may seem.