Every year around this time, we are all scrambling to prepare for the holidays. Then, once the Christmas spirit has dwindled, we frantically think Oh man, I have to write down my New Years resolutions!
During High School and College, this was an event I looked forward to every year - getting together with my friends and making our New Years resolutions. We would sit and pick ourselves apart, tearing ourselves down to try to build ourselves up in the coming year. We were all list makers and thrived on making these lists but, let’s be honest, the list would disappear about 2 weeks into the New Year. It was really just therapy - bonding time - to have girl talk about what was holding us back in life and how we could better ourselves. While I loved making these lists, I look back now and realize that I was holding myself to a standard of perfection. A standard I, obviously, could never achieve, so I would just get frustrated and give up.
I want to share with you a few examples of items that would be on my list: Go to the gym daily, read my Bible daily, be a better friend, pray more for others, be kinder to others, clean my room daily, etc. The list would go on and on. These were all great things to implement into my life, but I didn’t do it gradually. As you can guess, I wanted to be perfect… all at once. I knew I should strive for all these good things, but if I didn’t complete all the tasks, I would beat myself up.
My challenge to you this year is pick one word as a theme for your year. A word you can meditate upon and will help you become a better you. Note that I did not say a perfect you all at once. Take the word and write it down. Post it on your bathroom mirror as a reminder. Let this word shape the way you think and treat yourself this year.
The word I am choosing for 2018 is GRACE (self-grace). I am learning to embrace who I am as a person. I tend to emotionally beat myself up over silly things - like not going out when someone asks me to, crying when a song comes on the radio, feeling like I said the wrong words to someone, loving someone too much and getting hurt - the list could go on and on. I need to give myself grace. If I constantly live my life caring too much about the opinions of others, I will never be happy. I need to give myself grace to cry because it helps me heal. I need to give myself grace to stay home and relax because it helps my mental state. Give myself grace to love others with all my heart knowing that it might get broken in the end. Now, please don’t get me wrong - giving yourself grace is not permission to do anything. It is giving yourself permission to stop self-judgment. Only you know how you feel in this life. No matter how silly the situation may be, don’t judge yourself too harshly because the emotions you are feeling help you heal and cope.
So, go on and cry to that song on the radio, go on and curl up in your fuzzy pajamas for a night in, go on and eat that cookie that has been tempting you on the counter for days. Moderation is key because you do not want to get stuck in a downward spiral of depression and a rut that will be hard to overcome. Give yourself grace!
As I sit in my office and write to you, I look up and see a sign my Dad colored that reads, “Always believe in yourself.” I hope each of you will choose a word to live by this year, believe in yourself that you can achieve it, and make 2018 the best year yet! I appreciate you letting me open up to you. Trust me, it is not easy, but I would love for you to open up and let me hear what word you have chosen and why! Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.