For weeks we have been inundated with commercials tempting us to eat the extra cookies, forgo the diet and indulge. It felt like it was almost scrooge-like to deny yourself. After all, it was the holidays!
As soon as the countdown begins for the New Year, the messaging changes. Television commercials switch from “go ahead and eat the cookie” to “you’re fat because you ate too many cookies. You need a diet.” If we aren’t being told that we are fat, we are out-of-shape, disorganized or downright dirty. Watching television this time of years feels like an exercise in masochism. Personally, I prefer the pre-holiday commercials. At least when I turned off the television I was happily munching on a cookie instead of feeling like an overweight, out of shape, messy failure!
Every year I have fallen into the New Year/New You marketing trap. This year is different. I am working too much, too busy with my family and I am pregnant. I don’t have time to beat myself up. This year, I have resolved to grant myself holistic acceptance. Maybe it is because I am turning 40 this year, but if I want to make a change in my life it will not be because celebrities on television tell me I’m overweight and need to buy their diet plans.
Acceptance is turning into the greatest gift. Instead of starting the New Year feeling badly, I find myself feeling optimistic and happy. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t opened the door to improvement, but it does mean that I will make changes on my timeline, not based upon the changing of a calendar. Between managing my work, family and pregnancy, I am simply too overwhelmed to embark on any radical personal projects.
With acceptance comes personal reflection. With my mind freed from self-punishing dialogs, I have rediscovered a sense of enthusiasm which has missing for some time. It is amazing the optimism that comes from switching the internal dialog from “you’re not good enough” to “what makes you happy.” Lately I have been so overwhelmed with ideas and dreams that I needed a place to write them all down.
I suppose I could easily write my ideas into a Word document, but I spend so much of my professional life on the computer that I wanted something special. I have decided to go start an old-fashioned, pen and paper journal. I have discovered that there is something special about handwriting on paper. It takes more time, but it also allows me more of an opportunity to reflect and escape. In an effort to affirm that my thoughts, dreams and goals have value, I picked a journal which reflected my newly granted acceptance. Writing, just for myself, has helped to UNlimit my potential.
Change is always difficult and is only successful when implemented on a personal timeline. Hanging a new a calendar, and being bombarded with negative messages is not the motivation most people need. This year, I encourage everybody to embrace acceptance instead of falling into the pattern of forced change. I truly believe that self-improvement will be a natural extension of acceptance, and that the changes will be lasting. For me, writing in a journal is my first step towards self-discovery.
Happy New Year. May 2014 be the year of acceptance (and the journal!)