I have a bit of a double whammy – a new year and a new decade of my life – for new year new me resolutions. The pressure is on, from me and from my culture, to make some changes to become a better version of myself. The implication is that I’m just not good enough as I am, resulting in rejection of certain aspects of myself, rather than acceptance. I know from long experience that unconditional acceptance of myself as I am is the prime cause and condition for an authentic change to take place.
However, a myriad of products promoting exercise and well-being are being marketed around me and the endless isles of chocolate and booze in the supermarket have been replaced by somewhat healthier options! This is all well and good, but just more hype to make more money and reinforce the marketers message that ‘You are not good enough without..’
Several people have asked me about New Year’s resolutions or about how it feels to be 50 and I am at a loss about what to say.
I am just keeping going – staying in touch with my intentions – how I want to be in the world – and my motivations – why I want to be this way, so as to flourish myself and enable those around me and in the wider world to flourish. I will make this an aspiration and try not to beat myself up if I can’t always do that – after all I am only human! Acceptance of myself as I am is the crucial underpinning to it all. So, no new me for 2018 – just the old me aspiring to walk my talk amid a world of endless surprising and familiar experiences, ups and downs, tumbles and unforeseen twists and turns.
My experience today is mild bronchitis! So, an opportunity to observe my reactions to being poorly, with lots of work to do and a closely approaching deadline for marking MSc assignments. I always used to blame myself and be exasperated with myself when I was ill. Now I am kinder and look after myself and see it as an opportunity to rest, look after myself with hot lemon and ginger, echinacea and my favourite movies! I am curious about how my headache and chesty cough directly feels. They never feel as bad as I imagine they are, when I try to avoid feeling these feelings and instead think about how awful they are! This new approach is all down to practice and is much more enjoyable and less stressful than blaming myself and powering through with work despite being ill.
So next time I am asked about New Year resolutions or being 50 I might say – I am aspiring to be OK with myself just as I am. Then I can lighten up, relax and enjoy my life, just as it is.
Thankfully Mindfulness practice is free (except for courses and books)! Our new Mindfulness Based Living and Compassion Based Living apps are completely free for Apple or Android devices (click here for more info and to download). Practice helps us to be more accepting of ourselves and those around us. My experience is that acceptance of myself as I am, leads to a happier life and wonderful and unforeseen changes that I would never have thought of as a New Year Resolution!
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