Let’s talk Resolutions!
I personally think it is important to reflect on one’s life and set goals and intentions for making improvements; always in a gentle and kind way, of course. No need for shaming and negative self-talk here. The New Year is a great time for reflection and goal setting. As we are coming out of the wintry darkness, we can begin to feel lighter as the days lengthen and light begins to infiltrate our lives again. This light is both figuratively and literally shedding light on the areas in our life that we have an opportunity for growth. It is important to revisit our goals throughout the year but you always need to start somewhere, right?
Some obvious resolutions can include weight loss goals, more exercise, and healthier eating habits. However, I am a firm believer of focusing on inner wounds and healing those first. This will naturally lead to a healthier outer world. When our mind and soul is healthy, we tend to make more positive and healthy choices for our bodies to feel and look our best.
Whenever I meet a really mean or unhappy person I envision them loaded down with all the baggage they have been hanging onto for their whole lives and shoving in every awful experience until they are just bursting at the seams and can’t hold any more, so it trickles (or explodes) out onto everyone around them.
I would like to encourage you to look at the areas where maybe you have been clinging on to belief systems and experiences that are not serving you or perhaps were never yours in the first place, but you have taken them on as your own for whatever reason. This can be fears, judgements, or blame for experiences from your past. If you don’t know this already, let me be the first to say that these things are not serving you and are holding you back from all the amazing potential that you have for this life. Weighing yourself down with negativity is simply reinforcing obstacles that don’t need to be there.
For example, when I was growing up, my mother was terrified of spiders. At a very young age, I learned that when I see a spider I should scream as high pitched and blood curdling as I can, possibly run away arms flailing, or even better find something (or someone else) much bigger and smoosh the life out of the hideous creature. My mom may not have acted that way entirely, but my experience was that is how one should behave around spiders. Spiders = heightened fear response; Every.Single.Time. Eventually I grew up and moved in with my now husband, who happened to have a pet tarantula. I am rational enough that I am willing to face my fears, even if its through a terrarium glass. Over time, I learned that spiders are creepy, but actually kind of cool. Our eight year old son bought his very own pet tarantula with his own piggy bank money a few years ago. I now can tolerate the big hairy thing resting on my arm for a moment before it needs to be put away. I even let some harmless house spiders hang out in the corners of my house, because I despise flies and would much rather the spider eat them.
I never had a chance to learn on my own whether or not spiders were scary. I was preset to believe that the tiny little creature was possibly going to eat me alive or inject venom that will cause instantaneous death or something else equally terrifying. Thankfully, I learned that I can tolerate the eight legged creatures and when my son’s tarantula escaped its cage shortly after we moved into our current home, we didn’t have to torch the house and everything in it. We didn’t have to do anything drastic or silly. I won’t say I wasn’t a little freaked out, considering the cage was in my bedroom, but I managed to stay rational and look for it. I can say the spider was found and returned to its confinement and all is well. But you can see how many of us are brought up, taught to believe in the same things our parents or family members do and how much of that is something we would have chosen on our own had we not had those influences?
That was a simple example and doesn’t even go into the instances of trauma, abuse, prejudices, or judgements that many of us carry with us from moments in the past that dramatically shaped our present. However, I am a strong advocate of the fact that our past experiences provide us with an opportunity to make choices that will either help us grow or keep us hindered. My advice is to grow. There is not a single thing in your past that defines who you are as a person. There are only experiences that helped define your path that you have had to navigate. Every choice led to intended and unintended consequences which created more experiences to learn and grow from. There is no experience or person that can have power or control over you unless you allow it. Take back your power by acknowledging that experience/situation and forgiving your part in it, forgiving other people’s parts in it, and releasing your attachment to it. Sounds simple, and it is, but not necessarily easy.
If anything, New Year’s resolutions are a task for coming up with a plan to being present and living in the here and now. Stop reliving the past! What is done is done and there is no changing it. Everything that happened in the past was there for us to learn, to grow, and to do better. The people who came in and out of our lives were there to provide us with these lessons. We can forgive them, thank them, and move on. Its our choice to cherish the memories or let them go, but the point is to reclaim your power and move forward. Let that baggage go! Next you need to stop worrying about the future. There are no guarantees in life and we never know what the future holds, so lets stop wasting time and energy on the things that may or may not ever happen. Certainly set yourself goals and make a plan to help your reach them, but don’t get caught up in the outcome and forget to enjoy the experience of getting there. Focus on the present! I know this is much easier said than done. But hey, whoever said life was easy? The things that matter the most usually require a little bit of effort.
So what are some resolutions you might want to include for the coming year? Here are a few that I would suggest you might start with.
1. Love yourself
This is the secret to living a fulfilling life. Hey, no charge! That tip is for free, just for you. No need to thank me, I am pretty awesome like that.
I mean it though, truly, deeply, LOVE yourself. Forget about all those things that you keep telling yourself that aren’t good enough. Forget about those things that someone one day in your past said to you that stuck with you and you keep lashing yourself with daily. Forget about it! Fuhgeddaboudit!
The most amazing thing that you can do for yourself is to develop a love affair with yourself. Make time for you. Dedicate energy to you. Pamper yourself, treat yourself like a Queen or a King or whatever awesome badass you see yourself as. I don’t mean to be selfish and egocentric and shirk all your duties in life if they don’t fit into your supreme ideals of what you think you deserve. But I do mean stop putting everyone else first. I mean stop putting yourself down just because you make a mistake. Stop berating yourself if you go up a size in pants. Stop brushing aside compliments and turning them into something negative. You deserve to be loved and the only way anyone else can truly love you is if you love yourself first.
The only way to go forward in life and be truly happy is to be completely content with who you are as a person no matter what you look like, how you talk, your size, your education, your finances, your spirituality. Stop comparing yourself to others because no one is perfect, but you are the perfect you. There isn’t a single other person in this Universe that can fill those shoes. You are a unique individual that has a gift to share with the world. The sooner you realize it, the better off we will all be.
You might have to spend the rest of the year working on this one goal. It might take a couple years, or heck maybe even the rest of your life, depending on how much excess baggage you are dropping off at the dump. But in my opinion it is the most worthy goal and the sooner you get there the more you can truly start living.
2. Accept others for who they are
This one can be just as challenging as the last. A person’s life experiences, and essentially all the baggage he has accumulated over said life, shapes the way that he communicates and interrelates with others. I used to take things very personally for a large part of my life. Then one day I realized that how people treat me and talk to me has nothing to do with me and everything to do with them. So when a person flips me off in traffic, I don’t have to take it personally and can move on with my life as though the interaction didn’t even happen. Clearly that guy has issues, but I don’t need to make them mine.
When certain people in your social circle of life seep there baggage out onto you with insults, unwanted advice, verbal and emotional abuses, negativity, etc, you get to choose whether you react and take that crap on or choose to accept that these people have their own stuff that they need to work on and it’s much easier for them to confront you with their perceived issues about you than to deal with their own baloney. Did you catch that? Chances are, that what that person is calling you out for has more to do with them than it has to do with you.
This doesn’t mean that you need to subject yourself to abusive people. Certainly create boundaries and remove the toxic people from your life that are not going to contribute to the best you there is. However, have some compassion and understanding for these individuals and perhaps even a little sympathy that they are so miserable in life that all they can do is make everyone around them miserable too. How sad is that? You don’t have to subject yourself to anything that is harmful to you or your family, ever. Surround yourself with the people who will be supportive and loving. Having people who care about you and offer constructive criticism or call you out on your shitty behavior in a loving way, are important for our progress and growth. Just know and identify the difference.
Please consider stopping having expectations about other people altogether. If you don’t expect them to act a certain way, then they won’t let you down when they fail to meet your expectations. Allow others to be who they truly are and take them or leave them.
3. Don’t be afraid to FAIL
Life is all about taking risks and learning from our experiences. That is totally how we start life as a baby and toddler until we become conditioned to do as we are told and stop taking chances. How often do we talk ourselves out of doing something that we really want to do because someone else told us it would never work or it’s a waste of time/money/energy? If you are passionate about something, it’s never a waste to go for it. You only get one life, so you might as well make it the life you want. If you stumble and fall while you are working your way through life, that’s okay. At least you are doing something. With every mistake there is an opportunity to learn and grow. The next time around you can do better. Don’t worry about failing. The most successful people in this world failed miserably many times before they finally ever found success. If they had given up or worse yet never even started we would be without some of our most amazing technological advances, art, buildings, stories, etc. Just be you and do what it is that inspires you and ignites your passion.
I will offer you another friendly and free tip though. Learn from others mistakes, so you don’t have to make them. Read books, talk to people, and pay attention. You can avoid a lot of heartache by learning from others mistakes. Still take risks and be passionate, but be smart too.
4. Be Kind
There is so much going on in our world today and most of it is out of our control. But we each have control over how we treat others. Every single day do something to bring a little love and light into the lives of those that are around you. Smiles are free and contagious. Paying it forward with a random act of kindness can make a huge impact on another person and you never know just how deeply it is felt or how in need that person was. You could save a person’s life with a simple heartfelt action. Reaching out to the people in your sphere of influence and just wishing them a lovely day can bring a smile and lighten a mood. You might not be able to fix everything wrong with the world, but you can choose to be kind. Always remember, we are each human beings here on Earth sharing a human experience. Some of us may have been blessed much more than another and it never hurts you to spread kindness. It also doesn’t take any special talent, everyone is capable.
5. Be Present
I won’t say I have all the above perfected yet, but this is one I need to really work on. Big time, really need to work on! We are in an age of online presence and social interaction. I personally have a bit of an addiction to my phone and computer. I admit that freely and know that it is something I have to be aware of and willfully manage. I also know I am not alone. I navigate my business online, write this blog in my random spare moments, research for curriculum for my children online, do most of my shopping, and heck I even pay most of my bills online. I recognize that most of the day I am checking my phone for messages and information that could not only wait until later but most of the time doesn’t ever even need my attention.
Life is zooming by many of us and every minute spent on our phones is another missed opportunity for connection with the people around us. Being present means making the most of the time that you have. It also means focusing your energy on living in the moment with the people that matter most.
There are many more ideas that I could share with you today, but I realize I have been at this for long enough and I’m almost as tired of writing as you probably are of reading. So I will sign off for now.
Whether making resolutions is your “thing” or not, I wish you well and please be blessed and take care of yourselves in this New Year.
Love & Light