When thinking about what I wanted my New Year’s resolutions to be I initially came up with a list of 100 things (per usual), but then I decided to be more realistic and narrow it down to five. After narrowing it down to five I then realized that I should also pick one resolution to be my key focus, the kind that can easily be done every day no matter what’s going on around me. The kind that will affect every aspect of my life including my emotional and spiritual well being. I decided my big resolution would be to stop being so hard on myself.
It sounds simple and some might argue that a New Year’s resolution is meant to be something that requires you to be harder on yourself, but I decided that the most helpful thing I can do for myself is to cut myself some slack.
For as long as I can remember I have been my own worst enemy. I have been a perfectionist, beating myself up when I don’t do each little thing in the best way imaginable. I have blamed myself for things that were absolutely not my fault. I have put standards on myself that are entirely unrealistic, and then hated myself for not meeting those standards. It’s been a lifelong struggle that I have worked to overcome throughout the years. Meditation and repeating affirmations such as “done is better than perfect” and “those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” have helped tremendously over the years.
Ever since I got sober (2012), I have been harder on myself than ever before. My first year sober, when I was too physically and emotionally unstable to work, I beat myself up about it and felt useless, not realizing the beneficial life-altering effects that period of rest was actually doing for me. I have also gained weight since being clean and sober and I have been entirely too hard on myself for that too.
Focusing on all of the ways that being sober made me less than perfect was taking my attention away from all of the great changes that were being made. It was blinding me to the fact that my life was really propelling forward and my soul was burning bright. While I was too busy crying over not fitting into my old jeans, I was ignoring the fact that I am now healthier than I have ever been in my life. When I was spending too much time focusing on how tired I felt, I was forgetting the fact that taking Adderall fueled my addiction problems and turned me into someone I wasn’t. When I was focusing on how much I hate flirting and socializing sober, I was forgetting the fact that alcohol also made me lash out and say hurtful things to the people I care about.
My point is, when we focus on the things that we wish were different, our attention is being taken away from the things that have changed for the better. This is why gratitude is so important, it forces us to focus on the positive things in our lives.
So this year my resolution is this: whenever I catch myself being too hard on myself, I will counter it with a gratitude. For example, the next time I find myself wishing I was 10 lbs lighter, I will counter that thought by saying to myself “I am grateful for being healthy.” I encourage all of you to do the same with whatever it is you are hard on yourself about.
While I do hope to check off some other items on that list I made, such as getting my book published, becoming vegan, etc, I know that first I have to love myself and the rest will follow.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!