Here we are just about half way through January, only two weeks into the year, so how many of you have broken your New Year’s resolution so far?
Instead of the usual high number of resolutions relating to all areas of my life, I only made two (light-hearted) resolutions this year. One was trying to keep the house tidier on a regular basis, and the second was to see my friends more often. It has been easy to try and keep the house in order whilst we have been trying to sell it so I’ve resolved to keep that even though we have now taken it off the market, and with the cheerful excuse of wishing friends a Happy New Year that’s always a good way of getting back in touch after months of neglect. However, I do have to admit that I am struggling with one permanent every day ‘resolution’ and given in to the call of the dreaded ‘sugar demon’ over Christmas which has taken a tight hold of the reigns and is hard to tame. But I’ll step up, be a little more disciplined, and start again by cutting it out of my diet again tomorrow.
I always feel that if I have a particularly bad day and my will-power lets me down (for whatever reason) it isn’t wise to dwell on a failing but to agree with myself that tomorrow is a new day and I can start again. Some things are so much harder than others to maintain. And definitely not worth berating myself about.
Humans do rather a lot of harsh self-criticising and can be very unkind to themselves can’t they? One observation I’ve made over the years, of human nature, is that when we are overly self-critical we also tend to have very high expectations of other people too. And that is one sure way to live a life filled with disappointment.
So before writing this I sat for a while in meditation, pondering the basis of some of our human behaviours with the understanding that much of it comes from nurture as well as nature. Perhaps teachers, siblings or parents helped us to create a low opinion of our self-worth as we growing up by pointing out our failings rather too often. Perhaps they instilled a habit of high and unrealistic expectaions of ourselves and others? However, that was then, and this is a new year, and a new beginning! So rather than emphasise that beating ourself up is a harmful, indeed toxic, pattern and risk stimulating even greater self-judgement, I am inspired to emphasise the importance of building self-esteem – rather than undermining it. The angelic input I received was that we are always loved unconditionally by our celestial guides, and yet one of the reasons we reject that love is because we sometimes have these unrealistic expectations and can be so self-critical. One of the things I learned as a young parent was that if I’m doing my best, with love, then I’m good enough.
I often recommend a little book my father once gave to me called ‘What to say when you talk to yourself’ by Shad Helmstetter, in which he offers likeable and realistic ways of completely transforming our negative self-talk patterns.
I’d also like to share one of the exercises I ask people to complete in my Educating Heart and Soul course, in module five, which is all about love (including self-love). You can consider it just a little bit of fun, if you like, but actually it is very life-affirming and positively enhances your feelings of self-worth. All you need is something to write on – so either a pen and paper or even a page in your phone.
To do this you simply make a list from A-Z of positive observations about you, your qualities and your achievements. Absolutely nothing negative is allowed! So, to give you an example of how it goes you may start with something like: A – adventurous, B – brave, C – calming influence, D – diplomatic, E – empathic … and so on. However you do it, make it positive, light-hearted and above all else be kind to yourself. If you get stuck with a letter ask a friend!
Whether or not you have set goals for achievement for the year, or call them resolutions, I wish you every success … but remember not to compare yourself and your journey with others. We can aim high, have high values and stick to them, raise our spiritual vibration and work all can to serve the world, but however we do that is unique to us as individuals. Sometimes we make great strides and sometimes fairy steps. It is all good. And remember it is perfectly normal to fall flat on your face when learning to fly, it is the fun in trying that makes the achievement joyful.