Consider This Your New Year’s Resolution
If you’re reading this, we’ve both made it into 2019. For the most part, I’m in one piece- how about you? No matter what the last 365 days were like for you, January always offers us a beautiful opportunity to pause, take stock of our lives and recalibrate. January also offers every company that lived a chance to capitalize off of whatever year you’ve just had with the promise of a “New You”. You know what I mean- the overflow of emails that promise you’ll be slimmer, more youthful, more productive, more stylish if you just purchase this time-limited offer.
As a therapist, I love nothing more than a good, old-fashioned personal transformation. I am going to jump on the bandwagon here and encourage you to grow this year like never before. I can tell you that if you’re dedicated and practice this new skill often, you just might lose weight, see your relationships improve and increase your happiness. Best of all? I am going to drop the secret to your new year for free. Ready? For radical personal growth in 2019, I challenge you to…
Give yourself an ever-loving break and stop being so damn hard on yourself.
Now, listen, you gotta stay with me here, ok? You might have been looking for something to buy, but I happen to know that you actually have everything you need inside of you to affect massive change right now, as is. But you’ve got to be willing to love and accept yourself as you are in order to move forward.
Yes, you, Karen. You with the cellulite. You who yelled at your kid seconds after you put down your copy of “The Whole Brain Child”. You who had one chardonnay too many at Christmas and told Aunt Margaret’s secret over dinner (and in front of Aunt Margaret). I am inviting you, this year, to begin to plant the seeds of self-compassion and self-kindness so that you give yourself permission to be exactly as you are.
You might be wondering why this would be anything to work towards. In fact, I understand that thinking perfectly. For years, I believed that unless I used self-criticism to asses my personal deficits, I wouldn’t be able to grow or be better. The problem is that when we use our personal weaknesses as motivation to be “better”, we spend far too much time ruminating about… well, our personal deficits. We stay trapped in the “striving” mode, looking to be exceptional and perfect before we can be kind to ourselves.
If we can see our stumbles as a series of human moments (which is what they are), we are able to cultivate our emotional resiliency. If we embrace ourselves with the kindness that we often give others, we may find that we are less stressed out, better equipped to try things outside of our comfort zone and more likely to stick to goals. One of my wonderful clients in therapy told me recently, “I used to think I was broken, but I am realizing that actually, I’m just human”. What an incredibly freeing way to understand yourself. Embrace your own “human” this year.