A New Year…A New You?
How many of you are New Year’s resolution type people? You know that sense that you want to wake up one day and make great big sweeping wholesale changes to your life, only to be disappointed by the fact that 3 months down the road you’ve not accomplished what you set out to do? Is that you? One of the challenges with this approach is that it asks you to change much of who you are as a person practically overnight. As though somehow you can take your shyness away and suddenly be outgoing. Or you expect yourself to suddenly and magically put aside the shame you feel toward yourself for not having the right job, making too little money, not being smart enough, not being a good enough husband or father, being a failure, or whatever shame-based message you live with. This approach is going to fail you somewhere in the 99-100% category each time…until you can learn to accept and love yourself for who you are.
What do I mean? Well I am not suggesting that it isn’t a good idea to make changes in your life, but the fundamental question I think you need to answer before embarking on substantial changes is “What do I hope to accomplish with this change?” If the answer to that question is something like “I will be happier” or “More people will care about me” or “More people will like me” or “Then I will fit in”…then I think you’re going to struggle. You see, I believe that the first change we all must make, especially those of us who battle depression, a lack of self-esteem, or a downright disgust with ourselves, is to accept that we are who we are and that we should learn to love and appreciate both our strengths and the things we want to improve. It’s okay to not have a ton of money, the perfect car, the right job, the best house, the perfect body, the smartest kids, etc. etc. And I think the only person who can tell us that it’s okay to just be who you are…is you.
So how about this for a New Year’s resolution? Take a moment each day and remind yourself that you’re perfectly fine just the way you are. Tell yourself that you like who you see and that you have indeed accomplished many good things. If you want to drop a few pounds, well then begin to work on that because it is important to YOU, not because you think you’re a miserable failure for being overweight. If you want to find a new job, do so because YOU want some new challenges and experiences, not because you don’t make as much money as the neighbor. Do you see where I am going here? Make a resolution to learn to appreciate who you are, what you have (not what you don’t have), and where you’ve been. From here, I believe going about making changes in our lives is easier and more fulfilling.