So we're just into the third month of 2015, and like most Americans (I'd wager) I fell off the New Year's Resolution bandwagon... long ago.
Actually, I never even set any resolutions. I usually don't, because any good astrologer will tell you that spring is really when you're supposed to do these things - when the zodiac starts over, not when the calendar year does.
Not that any of those plans tend to stick either most years. I guess I'm bad at this.
I didn't do much in the way of solidifying these resolutions, or do any of the things you're "supposed" to do when goal-setting. I had these floaty little fairies of resolutions in the back of my mind, but there wasn't any kind of action plan attached. Which is the downfall of anything your mind can come up with.
A few weeks into the year, recognizing this lack of resolve, I resolved to resolve in a new way. I decided instead of making a few resolutions that only applied to this year, I would come up with some lifelong resolutions, worth pursuing season upon season, renewable any time, any place.
And then everything got super busy and this blog was the first thing to go.
But that's okay - in keeping with my first lifelong resolution, I declare it thus. What's my first resolution?
Lifelong Resolution #1
I will NOT beat myself up over ANYTHING.
Think that sounds too easy? Like giving up liver for Lent? Hardly. At least, not if you're me.
I know I'm not alone ('fess up!). We're often far too hard on ourselves, piling on the guilt and the shame and the self-flagellation for various misdeeds and faults - whether big or small. For example, if I were so inclined I could currently beat myself up for the following:
- Being fat
- Being in debt
- Joining a gym and not going more than once in the five weeks since
- Not blogging in over a month (Facebook likes to tell me EXACTLY how many days since I've updated this blog's corresponding page, but I haven't committed it to memory)
- Being otherwise inadequate in any number of ways
But (A) Where would beating myself up get me? And (2) Actually "A" is enough.
"Hold on, Kim!" you might be thinking. "I'M in debt, too!" or "I'm ALSO overweight. Does that mean I'm a terrible person?"
NO! And neither am I! That's the whole point! If our friends came to us with the same problems, we'd never judge them so harshly. We'd support them and help them through. We'd answer with nothing but LOVE.
Why is it so different when we turn the lens upon ourselves? Why do we search for reasons to hate ourselves and to justify that hate? Talk about a waste of time.
It's Not a Get Out of Jail Free Card
So it's not worth beating yourself up over every failure, fault, event, circumstance, that doesn't go as planned or causes a problem in your life. But that doesn't mean you don't have to take responsibility for your actions. It doesn't mean that making changes is off the table.
Because here's the sneaky little thing that we also love to pretend: beating ourselves up gives us an excuse to keep being "bad." It's a passive move, "Look how I'm punishing myself by internalizing all my faults and living miserably as penance."
But change only comes with action. Right?
Just Clean Up Your Mess
So stop beating yourself up, and start assessing the damage. Then clean it up. When you break a lamp or vase or glass you don't psychoanalyze every moment that led up to it breaking. You curse, yell for someone to bring you your shoes, and you set about cleaning it up.
It might take a moment of strategy - "I need a box for these big pieces so they don't cut into the trash bag, or cut anyone else throwing something away... I need a broom for the medium bits maybe... I need to vacuum..."
You don't waste time wondering how or why the glass broke. You don't refuse to use all glassware for evermore because this one glass broke. You don't yell at the glass (well, maybe you do, but glasses don't have feelings, so it's okay). You just fix it. You clean it up. And you move on. You might even buy a new glass/vase/lamp. And maybe it'll be better than the one you had.
That's called lemonade.
Give it Time
Sure, some messes take longer to clean up - they're usually the ones that took the longest to MAKE. That financial hole you dug yourself into didn't happen overnight... why do you think you can crawl out of it overnight?
You can't. But that doesn't mean just sitting in the hole crying and telling yourself how bad you are for letting it happen. That won't solve the problem. Small steps forward over time WILL. But you won't be able to make them if you're constantly beating yourself up about it. It's as bad for your self-esteem as it would be coming from anyone else.
So that's the idea, and that's my resolution. I don't need to beat myself up for not blogging, or anything else. I just need to start blogging again. Etc.
I feel better already.
What lifelong resolution would be YOUR first, beauties? Share with me in the comments!
IMAGE CREDIT: JOHN HAIN