At the beginning of every new calendar year, many of us make resolutions to change our habits, with the intention of changing ourselves, by giving something up or adding something new. We feel that a new year is a fresh start, full of potential. We enter the year with thoughts of a new, ‘improved’ version of ourselves, renewed optimism of becoming the person we want to be or the person we feel we should, or could, be.
January is the time when the excitement, gifting and feasting of the festive period is over – the ‘trough’ to the previous month’s ‘peak’. December is a very stressful month for most of us and often its preparations have started long before the month has. Advertising bombardment begins weeks beforehand – one of my local garden centres had their Christmas decorations up in July (forgoing any future business from me). There is no other day in the year that commands such commitment of our time, energy and money and we need time afterwards to restore all three.
Is our difficulty in keeping our resolutions due solely to this post-celebratory hangover? Well, no. At a time of vulnerability when we are trying to replenish ourselves, we are then bombarded with advertising that reinforces our thoughts of ‘self improvement’, feeding our insecurities and adding pressure for us to change, quite deliberately sending us the message that we are not enough as we are and that we would be better people if only we were thinner/fitter/healthier/bought new shoes/learned a new language/booked a holiday/looked like a celebrity…
As January moves on and our resolutions fall by the wayside, we get disheartened and disappointed, chastising ourselves by thinking that, if only we could be disciplined enough to make the changes we placed upon ourselves, we could be a better person. And this becomes a vicious circle, adding internal pressure, sending the message to ourselves that we are not enough, just as we are. But we are enough.
We don’t have to be a ‘project’ that needs to be constantly bettered, improved or re-invented. We can be unchanging and familiar, celebrating ourselves for what we are right now. It’s OK to stay the same and just ‘be’ in this world. It really is, you know. We don’t have to wait for a new year for renewed optimism – every minute, every hour, every day is full of the potential for us to appreciate ourselves as we are. All we need to do is allow gentleness and kindness into our lives, being a little more gentle and kinder to ourselves. And then we can begin to see the rich, constant threads that run through our lives, wittrue appreciation and encouragement to develop both love and admiration for our glorious selves, just as we are.
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