At New Year we are constantly encouraged to become a new version of ourselves – thinner, fitter, happier, etc. Generally, these messages come from skillful marketers wanting to sell us a solution to fix what they want us to believe is wrong with us. So how can we be mindful of this at new year? These messages are insidious and often fuel a deeply held belief within us that we are not good enough.
Can we be mindful of this at New Year? I see this over and over again on the mindfulness courses that I teach. These beliefs cause us so much suffering and my mission is to help relieve this needless suffering. Do you want to join me? So let’s celebrate this same wonderful us, accept ourselves as we are – strengths, weaknesses and all. Counterintuitively, this is the foundation for genuine transformation to happen by itself. I have observed this repeatedly within my own experience and from the experience of the hundreds of people I have taught mindfulness to over the last decade. Genuine change begins with accepting ourselves just as we are.
I have found over the years that attempts to lead a healthier life – eating well and exercising- were repeatedly undermined by powerful unconscious forces in my mind. It was only once I was able to accept myself – bit by bit – just as I am through my mindfulness, compassion and insight practice. A process involving coming to terms with the painful psychological beliefs driving these unconscious forces – that these forces abated and the more healthy habits were able to take root. They took root by themselves, in the soil of my mindfulness practice, from an intention to care for myself and not by forcing myself to conform to expectations – mine or others – of how I should be.
It is no quick fix. It is a life’s work and I am a work in progress. I am still practicing mindfully to accept myself unconditionally and as I do this with a sincere intention to care for myself, those around me and the wider world, more freedom emerges to follow this intention. I become more joyful each year and more useful to others and I heartily recommend this meaningful life path.
So my invitation is to come practice with us this new year so we can support each other in accepting ourselves as we are and come to the realisation that we are good enough as we are – warts and all! After all we only have this one – as Rob Nairn always says – we don’t have a spare one of ourselves in the cupboard! Better love this one!
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Happy New Year!