I know everyone is talking about New Year’s resolutions and telling you how to keep them. But I want to tell you that it is absolutely okay not to have any. Instead, I am going to suggest that you do this ONE THING! Love yourself just as you are.
Loving yourself just as you are does not mean that you never decide to work on a particular aspect of yourself. For instance, I would like to be more patient and less irritated by the daily stresses of life. I know I would feel better and everyone around me would appreciate that as well. What loving yourself does mean is that even though you don’t always live up to the expectations you hold for yourself, you love yourself anyway.
If, on the other hand, you were to berate yourself over your shortcomings, you would stand little chance of doing anything different. It is with kind, compassionate attention and care that you learn to live life in alignment with your values. You feel the “ouch” when you have “missed the mark” and you use that experience to teach you how you would like to be in the future. You might have to miss the mark a thousand times, but if you keep holding yourself with compassion, you will notice a change in how you respond to life.
Teaching people mindful eating for 15 years, the biggest issue that showed up in the class was not necessarily the way that people ate but a lack of self-love and self-care. Without self-love and self-care, changing how you eat is quite difficult. The negative judgment and criticism that we have toward ourselves show up in how we eat, drink, shop, use social media, drive, and interact with others. This view of oneself keeps people from being intimate with themselves in a caring, constructive way.
In addition, there is often an outward focus on how we believe others think we should look, how we should eat, and how we should work or play. Listening to a recent podcast on Ten Percent Happier with Gretchen Rubin, she suggests that a focus on outer expectations is quite prevalent. (You can take her Four Tendencies Quiz here.) Unfortunately, if you lead your life with an outer focus, you may not be aligned with your own internal values and desires.
Go inside and feel the experience of your body, heart, and mind. See if you can feel instead of judge. There is a significant difference between the two. Cultivate a mind that experiences without clinging or rejecting. As Pema Chodron wrote in Going to Pieces without Falling Apart, “completion comes not from adding another piece to ourselves but from surrendering our ideas of perfection.”
In 2023, here are some ideas for helping you to embrace the glory of who you are and each moment you have to live. Love yourself. It’s the only person you’ll have for the rest of your life.
- Be grateful for the first moment of waking up in the morning. Say something nice to your body for breathing through the night.
- When you look in the mirror, tell yourself you look marvelous. You do, by the way.
- When you dress in the morning, put on something that makes you feel good about yourself. If you don’t have anything, go out and buy something.
- When you sit at the dinner table, remember the absolute privilege it is to have food to eat. Don’t fuss about the calories, the macros, the micros, and all that other stuff. Savor and feel really good about eating.
- When you take your body for a walk, remember what a blessing it is to have a body that can walk.
- When you bathe or shower in the morning, take a moment to touch your body with a loving touch. Prepare it for the day or night with care.
- Catch yourself engaging in negative thinking. Replace it with thoughts that are kind and gentle.
- Think about three things each day that you like about yourself. If you don’t have three, then work on this list until you do.
- Be vulnerable and feel your emotions deeply. They make you human. They connect you with others. Feel them and then let them go as many times as you need to in order to release them.
- As you go to bed at night, review the beautiful moments that you had that day. Go to sleep with a smile on your face.
- “Set a sacred intention for the new year. This is not a New Year’s resolution but an inner knowing that comes when you sit quietly and ask what is my highest intention for the year ahead. Ask, listen and then write it down. It could be as simple as… “I vow to be kind.” Or “I will act in ways that honor the earth.” (This is adapted from Jack Kornfield’s recent email.)
Happy New Year Everyone!!
Enjoy and Savor the Moments.