I am the QUEEN of New Year’s resolutions. I usually start thinking about them as I am unloading the dishwasher the day after Thanksgiving. I love New Year’s resolutions the way some people love stomping through a field of freshly fallen snow. Or the way some people prepare for the Super Bowl or a new season of Homeland. I get giddy with the possibility and promise that a robust list of resolutions brings. And certainly as a coach I have all sorts of recipes for making and keeping resolutions – some of which actually work and all of which I’m happy to share!
But this year I’m going cold turkey. I’m forgoing my resolution binge. Throwing out my list before I even make it. All because it struck me that my list was being fueled by something more ominous and less pure than possibility and promise. Something in the underbelly of my being was really saying, “this year I’ll get it right.” Or even more dastardly, “this year I’ll become right.” Better. Best. i.e., worthy. That’s it – if I just spend more time with my cat, and cut out carbs, I’ll be complete. And I just can’t stomach it.
Last year I read a quote by Dr. Robert Holden in my friend Mike Robbins’s book, Nothing Changes Until You Do, that said, “there is no amount of self-improvement that will make up for a lack of self-acceptance.” And I realized that’s exactly why I’m taking the road less travelled this year and not making 5–10 New Year’s resolutions that for me are really just fueling my subtle habit of trying to prove my worthiness, earn my keep, perfect my performance. Enough.
Carl Rogers, the father of humanistic psychology, stated that all change starts with self-acceptance. What a radical thought. Only when I accept myself – warts and wounds and all – can I change. Most of my life I’ve had it backwards – only when I change will I accept myself. And that hasn’t worked too well for me. Nor do I find it works all that well for my clients. So this year my anti-resolution is to work – or not work, as the case may be – on accepting myself in a deeper and more compassionate way. Befriending myself even at times when I don’t feel worthy – especially at times when I don’t feel worthy. So it may not be like stomping in a field of freshly fallen snow, but it just may be like sinking into a very warm bubble bath. Care to join me?
So, dear ones, tell me:
What would it be and mean to accept yourself just as you are?
Take care of your special self.