I hate New Year’s Resolutions.
As the Shop assistant finished my sale and bid me fair well, she wished me a Happy New Year. Then she said “one more day to be bad before we begin our resolve to be good for 2014”. What a load of poppycock. What could she be doing in her life that is so bad that she has to stop it on January 1 2014?
We all have things in our lives that we do that we know aren’t good for us or that we could do better. But let me tell you that there is not one shred of empirical evidence out there in psychology-land that proves that feeling ‘bad’ about something ever made a difference to long term change. Why? Because feeling ‘bad’ is either one or both of two things: Guilt and/or Shame. Say you make a ‘resolve’ based out of guilt/shame, and you can’t stick to it, where does that leave you? Feeling even more guilt and shame. Great cycle of self-destruction there. Let me tell you, that if either of those badboys were effective in changing behaviour, I’d be a Saint and weigh five kilos less. Literally. We all would. Instead, let’s love ourselves and our families enough to decide we want to be the best version of ourselves that we can, and that we might be open to seeing ways or possibilities to do that.
In this spirit, how about this for a challenge, not a resolution, for 2014:
Comparison kills creativity*, self esteem and joy. And while we’re at it, let’s include not just images on the Net, but Facebook, magazines, movies and tv too. There is not one image in a magazine that has not been digitally reenhanced. Not one. What you are looking at is not a real person. Not a real person. How can we ever live up to something that isn’t even real? So stop kidding yourself. You are a real person. And if reading Facebook, blogs and magazines just ends up making you feel not-good-enough, unworthy or left out, then stop doing it. Because you are comparing your life to someone else’s. Live your own life. This is a challenge our grandmother’s never had to face, but we have to. And we need to do it for our daughter’s and our sons too. Because they are seeing and feeling the result of our comparison. Ever wondered why there are so many cases of juvenile anorexia appearing these days, or why little girls grow up too fast and want to look ‘sexy’? Stop contributing to it. Now.
If however, you use these images to inspire you or to learn to do things better, then go for it. Some days for me it is a fine line between comparing myself and my life to what I see around me or using it as an inspiration. On those days when I notice the balance is a little off, I close the computer (magazine etc) and get back into my own life, my own reality. Because I only have one. One reality, one life, and it is mine, no-one else’s, and as I am learning, I am enough. You may like to become aware of this in your own life. I did not start this blog to hold myself up as an oracle on how to live life, I started writing it to inspire women, and there’s a big difference in that intention. Same with hair, makeup and fashion. It is there to enhance, for enjoyment. When it stops being that, then it’s time to put it away for a while. These ‘accessories’ to life are here for our enjoyment, not to make us feel shabby.
And while we are on the topic of guilt and shame, let’s add the antidote, vulnerability. Yuck. Who wants to talk about that one? Well, this lady does, and she’s doing a pretty good job of it. Go on, do yourself a favour for 5 minutes and watch this. Personally, I have found it life changing. And I’m not joking. I’m being totally vulnerable here, so please don’t laugh.
Happy New Year everyone,
go out, live your life, you only have the one, and you ARE ENOUGH