Recently, I started working with a new client. He immigrated to the US with his family from China when he was a young boy. The 5 of them made a life together. Now, years later, his parents are happily retired in Florida, and the three grown kids all reside in different parts of the US. They are living the “American Dream.”

This client has been visiting China for business and pleasure and would really like to move back, but he feels guilty about breaking “the pact” that his family made to make the United States their home.

Our coaching relationship was born when I asked him “What pact do you have with yourself?”

There are a lot of “shoulds” or perceived obligations we feel we must do. As a “Shouldaholic” in recovery, this is particularly poignant for me! I’ve had many tense exchanges with family and friends, where I was doing what I “should” do to please others, while ignoring my own personal needs. One year I was asked to make a difficult and time consuming dish. I was stressed about time and the complexity of the dish.  Yet, like many of us, I couldn’t say “no.” I couldn’t even offer a simpler alternative. All because I wanted to be “helpful.” I avoided the immediate cost of conflict or rejection, but it came at the cost of my own self-care.

We have opportunities every single day to abandon or commit to our personal pacts with ourselves – and December is especially super charged.

You can choose how you want to experience this season (and the rest of the year too) filled with invitations, get togethers, expectations, and potential drama. Let’s use this month as an opportunity to get clear on what it looks like to make a pact with ourselves. 

Use these questions at any time, in any situation, to design a pact that works for you:
  • How do you want to experience this season? Describe it in vivid detail. 
  • What is important to you? What would that look like in action?
  • What gives you a sense of well-being?
  • Is there a gap between what you want or need, and what’s someone is asking you for?
  • How can you bridge that gap?

Reply below to let me know what kind of pact you are designing with yourself.

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