Happy New Year everyone! Do you sense the air thick with potency for change or is it just me? The new year seems to bring with it the freshness of a clean slate that only the resetting calendar can bring.
The Old Way of Doing Holidays
This time, many years ago, used to be the beginning of a 2-3 week period of slow recovery in getting back into the groove of daily life. The holiday overeating, traveling, irregular schedules and emotional hangovers from continuous socializing, all coalesced in my getting off kilter from my usual swing of things. Dragging myself out of bed to start my days, I barely kept my head above the water of daily tasks and teetered tottered on my self care.
The New Way
The last two years no longer look that way thankfully. This time of year now looks different in that I finally got around to making kinder choices for myself. Instead of jam packing the holidays to spend every last ounce of time with loved ones, saying yes to all invitations and staying over for more than what was comfortable, I actually, brace yourself… cut down. I prioritized and flexed my “So sorry, can’t make it” and “No thank you” muscles.
Flexing the Muscle of Boundaries
Saying no resulted in creating the space of a week to let myself and my home be un tethered by doing absolutely nothing about the growing dust bunnies, the still scattered about wrapping paper, ribbon, scotch tape and looming heap of laundry. I acted on just the bare bones of what we as a family needed: sleep, food and play.
I slept with no alarm, simplified food with hearty stews and allowed plenty of lazy cuddle sessions. In giving myself the permission to unwind and let the outer messiness be, I stayed true to my morning self care routine, even if it meant letting my son have the usually forbidden screen time, to finish up the last round of self love morning treats.
This new way led to deeper rest, more focused regrouping and now a growing momentum in entering my daily swing on the 6th day of the month not the 28th 🙂
Saying No Was “Not Me”
This has been the gift of disciplined self care in that it has influenced for the better, choices that go way beyond my personal morning time. The journey to a life of habituated self care has facilitated bit by bit, the letting go of a self made fake identity, based solely on appeasing others. Years ago saying no to holiday gatherings would of been unfathomable, it was just “Not who I was” I told myself.
The Mask of Identity
An example from my life of how even my most personal choices were led by the need to hold up this identity is how in the beginning of this journey, I got the desire to create a hopes and dreams collage to hang up in my bedroom. This was a desire that was free, it was of no consequence to others and would you believe, it took me months to actually do it?! The embarrassment of what he, she or they would think if they found out I had sat around cutting and pasting magazine clippings like a kindergartner, stopped me from doing it.
Fear=All Bark, No Bite
I held onto a false identity and denied giving myself this kindness that later proved to be one of pure delight. In pushing past the childlike feeling of tiptoeing towards a forbidden cookie jar, a tremendous weight lifted in actually doing it. The world didn’t collapse around me, I wasn’t tarred and feathered and it boggled my mind why I had let fear keep me away from satisfying something so simple, free and that gave an experience of such sweet playfulness.
Let Go of The Lies
I stumbled upon many more rewarding experiences of self discovery having made and kept the resolutions to gradually extend my self care practices. These experiences helped me to peel, layer by layer, the lies I had believed about who I had to be and who I was. They also gave me the strength to withstand the discomfort of trying different things that stretched the bounds of my identity.
More Than Skin Deep
This brings me to the topic of making resolutions that stick. To create resolutions that we can commit to we need to be clear on two things 1) That they heave deeper meaning for us than that of simply enhancing our image and 2)That we accept that our identity must change in order to successfully adapt new behavior.
Resolutions that are intended to actually enhance our well being as a whole person as opposed to simply polish our image, will have enough weight to anchor us back on track when we slip and deviate.
Consuming Ideas Of Image Enhancement
This can be difficult to accept in a nation where media constantly feeds us sensationalism around image creation shaped by the brands we consume in what we drink, what we read, wear, drive, where we dine etc.
Re-framing Towards Wholeness
So if it’s more exercise we want to incorporate into our life, the resolution to simply exercise more because in the back of our minds we actually just want positive attention from certain people can be re-framed to “I will begin to BE the kind of person that enjoys regularly exercising and leads a lifestyle of physical health”. From that vantage it’s easier to keep at the efforts to change in the face of slip ups because that holistic perspective that this is a long term deal of real transformation, keeps you motivated.
Making Lifestyle Changes
If your resolution is to eat healthier to ultimately look good in certain kinds of outfits, it can be re-framed to “I will begin to BE the kind of person that enjoys eating healthy foods and lives that lifestyle”. Again this re-framing keeps the wholeness of who we are in mind.
Only The Slow and Steady Win This Race
Real change is a long term game. The shallow perks we may get from society based on how we look, can be rewarding to a certain extent but is not sustainable. Those perks don’t stand a chance when life throws curve balls and we lose a loved one, a job or our health. Solid centeredness’ from having invested in our health body, heart and mind is all that will remain as valuable.
So to what extent is who you show to the world genuinely you? Is there a change you want to make but can’t see yourself doing the behaviors needed because your “Not that kind of person”?
I’d love to know what you’re experience is around identity and resolutions.
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