You're braver than you believe,
and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think."
Christopher Robin to Pooh
Hard to say what makes it difficult to think as well of ourselves as others think of us. We're usually our own worst critic. And sometimes that's fine. Putting ourselves under the microscope has it's value if it inspires growth and positive change. But if being critical of ourselves is merely making us feel less than, or depressed and bad about ourselves...time to give ourselves a break.
In this my hibernating time of year I tend to get a little down on myself, finding myself to be a little bored and boring. Then I'm really down on myself because I think it's my own damn fault if I'm bored and/or boring. There's just no excuse for it in the world we live in, with books, movies, TV, internet and so on and so on. We should be bemoaning the fact that there are too few hours in the day to do all the wonderful and exciting things that are available to us.
To counteract this dull feeling I have been regularly visiting the library and bringing home arm loads of books. Most of them are scanned but not read. But...Oh...the few that I read have been amazing. They have helped pull me out of my funk. Some might call them "self help" books and I dislike that term very much. The bad apples of the genre have spoiled the barrel for many people. There are many, many valuable and remarkable books that can help us along our way.
Yesterday I "cleaned a drawer"......Ta-Da!! It doesn't sound like much but it's been bothering me for years. The junk drawer we all have was way overdue and every time I opened it I cursed myself and and the chore grew to huge proportions. It took about an hour and the satisfaction I felt was well worth the time. Those little "rat's nests" we all have in our homes or offices weigh on us in ways that we may not be aware of.
At the beginning of a New Year we often have extraordinarily high ideals for the changes we'd like to see in our lives. They can be the breaking of bad habits or planning for big changes in our lives. We are not alone in our inability to carry through with many or most of these resolutions. Perhaps we shoot too high. Change is difficult, it takes energy and resolve. Sometimes we have it sometimes we don't. When we fail, we often give up entirely and berate ourselves for our lack of follow through.
Purposely I did not make any resolutions this year. Instead I am trying for moderation in all things. Habits I would like to see gone I am accepting to a degree and keeping them moderate. To ban chocolate or wine from my life would cause anxiety but allowing it into my life in moderation seems reasonable. Overlaying good habits onto our lives like walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or keeping healthy snacks around instead of chips and sodas can eventually add up to some wonderful life changes. Give yourself credit for small victories. Replacing that soda for a glass of water with a spritz of lemon is good enough for today. Cleaning just one drawer can be the boost you need to carry you to the next level.
I speak to all of us when I suggest we keep our expectations reasonable and small enough to actually experience some success. And even then if we face a failure don't beat ourselves up. There's always tomorrow. Make the changes "bite size" pieces not sweeping grandiose schemes that may be doomed from the beginning. Use the small successes to build on the next ones. Yesterday I did Yoga and meditated when I could have been messing about on the computer. Today I am tackling the cleaning of the pantry. I did not have that glass of wine last night but instead a cup of tasty herbal tea. I will take a walk this afternoon rather than turn on the TV. Small but hopefully significant actions that will eventually stick and become part of new rituals. Actions that will add to our love of self not take away.
Wishing all of us health, happiness and peace of mind in the New Year. Be kind to yourself.