Approaching the New Year

It’s almost 2018!

 

 

 

 

In 2017, I didn’t accomplish all the goals I set, and now it’s too late. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to accomplish those goals at all. Only too late to accomplish them in 2017.

2018 is a whole new year, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve set some goals, and am on the way to meeting some of them already. But I’m also keeping in mind that the goals might change along the way, and that’s okay. I can’t predict the future. I can say now that these things are what I want to do, and this destination is where I want to go, in the coming year, but in, say, March, or August, or even next December, I might change my mind.

That isn’t to say I’m going to change my mind about working toward goals. But I might change my mind about what some of those goals are, or what the best ways are to get there.

Many people at this time of year start setting goals or resolutions for the new year. The problem is that some of us get hung up on “having to” meet those goals. We forget that change can always happen. Something might change in our lives that leaves us unable to meet a goal, or we might change course in our personal life or career. Or we might simply decide that something no longer serves us. And all of that is okay.

If you’re setting goals for 2018, consider including a goal to revisit your goals periodically. I plan to do mine quarterly. Set aside time at least a few times this year to look at the goals you’ve set, see how much you’ve accomplished, and see if any goals are ready to be removed, either because you’ve met them or because they’re no longer on the path you want to follow. Remember that nothing is set in stone in our lives, and that includes the goals we set.

Next week, I’ll share a few of my 2018 goals.

Family Acceptance

At this time of year, many people spend time with family members they might rarely see the rest of the year. That can be good, but there are times when it’s easy to remember *why* you don’t see them often. They question every choice you’ve made in your life. Argue with you about right and wrong. Judge you for not living your life exactly the way they live theirs.

And unfortunately, some people’s families are so judgmental that they don’t see them at all.

Being around family, or being reminded that everyone else is with family while you aren’t able to be, isn’t easy. Even if you have a life with which you’re happy most of the time, hearing your family’s opinions of it can cause you to doubt and question the way you live. Some family members also have a knack for making you feel like you’re ten years old again, and they treat you accordingly.

If your family doesn’t welcome you at the holidays, that too can lead you to doubt yourself. You might feel as if they would love you if you just lived/acted/loved the way they want you to, and might think there’s something wrong with you for not falling in line with what they seem to want.

Whatever your holiday situation is, and whomever you’re spending it with, practice accepting yourself this holiday season. If family members judge or question you, face it with acceptance. You are valid and lovable as you are, and it isn’t your fault that some people choose to place conditions on their love. At the same time, you can’t change who and how they are, so even when it hurts, try to accept that it’s something about *them*, not you, and that they don’t define who you are or should be.

I wish everyone the best of the remainder of the holiday season.

 

In the Mirror

 

 

One piece of advice I’ve heard a lot, and for that matter give quite a bit, is “Look in the mirror and say you love yourself.” It’s easy to do. You look in the mirror and speak the words. But saying it isn’t the same as *meaning* it, and meaning it is the hard part.

I do this every morning, and have for several years. But until recently, I didn’t mean it. I said the words because someone had told me saying them was a way to make them real. It wasn’t real for me, though. It wasn’t any different from saying “Unicorns exist” or “I know how to fly.” People can *say* just about anything, but that doesn’t mean they believe the words they say.

Loving myself has been a decades-long battle. I learned pretty early on that I didn’t deserve love, and since other people didn’t seem to think I deserved it, how could I give it to myself? Because of bullying and verbal abuse, I developed a sense of myself as an unlovable, unwanted human being who probably had a reason for existing but couldn’t figure out what the reason was.

Over a decade ago, when I met the man who became my mentor in energy healing, affirmations, and other things, he was the first to tell me to look in the mirror and say, “I love myself.” So I began doing so, not because I did love myself but because he told me to. He insisted that if I said it often enough, I would begin to believe it.

Several months ago, I realized I was still just mouthing those words, even after over ten years. I had never started believing them. I was still just saying them because someone who wasn’t even in my life anymore had told me to. And that was the problem. Doing something solely because we’re told to often doesn’t have the effect we want, if it has any effect at all.

I started being more mindful when I said the words. Instead of just mouthing them, I tried to *feel* them as they came out of my mouth. I started really looking at myself in the mirror, instead of just standing in front of it. On my partner’s suggestion, I began using the “power stance” (feet slightly wider apart than shoulder-width, hands on hips) as I spoke, and I did feel more powerful.

Power gives power. The words I spoke in that stance, when I said them mindfully and with intention, began to work. I started liking what I saw in the mirror. I started loving that woman.

I haven’t mastered it yet. It’s probable that I never will. I still have times when I fall back into the pit of hating myself, or believing I’m a bad person or fat or ugly, or any of the other drivel I was force fed as a child. But more often than not, I do love myself, and I do believe and truly feel the words that I say when I look at myself in the mirror.

In Hiding

“Living your truth” is a big thing in the coaching field. Every coach I follow has said it at one time or another, and I definitely have used the phrase myself on more than one occasion.

The thing is, it’s easy to say, but less easy to do.

When you’ve been taught that you have to hide certain things about who you are, or who your family is, you learn that living your truth not only isn’t acceptable, it can be dangerous. If you say the wrong thing to the wrong person, someone might hurt you. At the very least, you might be shunned by the people around you.

Even though I advise others to live their truth, I’m not always out there showing everything about who I am. I am in hiding about some things, because I’m one of those people who was taught to hide. As a child, I talked about things like communicating with the wind and trees. I told my parents when I “just knew” something was going to happen, and I shared my writing and stories with anyone who would listen.

I wasn’t praised for those things. I was told not to talk about the wind and trees because people would think I was “crazy.” My parents said the same thing about my “just knowing,” and also ranted at me about how little good it did to know those things since I couldn’t do anything to change them. While my parents tried to be supportive of my writing, and so did some of my teachers, my peers and other teachers made fun of me or at least of the stories I wrote.

I learned to hide.

Even as I type this, there are some things about myself that not everyone in my life knows. There are things about which I don’t talk to some people, and other things I don’t talk about at all.

Living your truth and speaking your truth are important as you build the life you want to live, but sometimes you have to be more cautious than you would like about what you say and how you live around certain people. And that’s okay. If you’re just playing it safe because you don’t believe in yourself, that’s one thing; but sometimes it really is a matter not of *playing* safe but of *being* safe.