Each new year is an opportunity for change. Our social media feeds and inboxes bombard us with messages about ways to improve ourselves. After a while, these messages stop feeling inspiring and leave us feeling that we are not good enough exactly as we are.
In a small act of defiance, I decided not to make any resolutions. I am not interested in improving myself. I am more concerned about being grateful for where I am. Right here. Right now. Period.
Instead of listing all the ways I need to change, I decided to evaluate my life on the basis of what is working. When I have those areas identified, my one and only goal will be to expand on them. If change is a byproduct of this expansion, then that is merely coincidence. I welcome change but I am not beholden to it. I wish the same for you, too.
As you begin your ‘what-works-for-me’ evaluation, be mindful of the following:
Fear as an Ally
We are taught early on that fear means avoidance at all costs. If we feel fear, then we must stop doing whatever it is that is causing this fear. What if we are looking at fear upside-down? Of course there are situations where our physical and emotional well-being are at risk. These are the times fear is leading us back to safety. However, most of our fear is a distraction from taking the risks that could elevate ourselves and others. This fear originates in the mind-chatter that loves to shoot down our dreams.
Is there something your heart longs to do but fear is holding you back? In this case, fear is blocking your path to possible fulfillment. This kind of fear can become an ally if we embrace it. It is showing you the things in your life that matter. If they did not matter, you would not be afraid of failing at them.
I say keep going. You never know where it might lead.
Identifying the Impact of Busyness
Being overscheduled impacts us in two distinct ways. The first is creating a life so jam-packed, there is not any room for quiet evaluation. You cannot expand on the good things if you do not even realize what those good things are. Taking time to pause is essential to creating a life you love. Maybe start with five minutes of contemplation. In the morning, I like to sit with a cup of hot tea at my kitchen table and soak in the silence before my boys wake up. No electronics allowed.
Busyness also impacts the quality of our relationships. I often take my husband’s busyness personally. I know he is working hard to provide for our family, but there are days I wish he could set that aside and be more present with me. It helps when I can communicate my needs to him. He is always willing to make time for me if I verbalize it. Make sure you are stating your needs out loud.
Often, what we want in others may be things we are lacking in ourselves. Therefore, I continue to make time for my boys and try not to bury myself in activity so that I become unavailable to them. I want them to feel valued. This is the foundation that holds us together over time.
Honoring Your Successes Thus Far
If we each took the time to write out our successes of the last six to twelve months, I imagine we would see our lives in a new light.
You are still standing. You made it through everything 2018 could throw at you. You had challenges and overcame them.
You are a survivor.
2019 will be a piece of cake.
Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent