So New Year's Eve is just around the corner and each and every single year, we're bombarded with messages from the media telling us to do better, be better and look better. Why is that? One of the things I hate most about the New Year is the cringe-worthy status updates about "New Year, New Me" or the "Just signed up for the gym, YOLO!" where hoards of your Facebook friends (and mine) sign up for the gym and furiously attend for the first two months to hopefully attain that fit bod they have always dreamt of. That's cool, I guess but why is it always that these "New Year, New Me" goals are always larger than life and never easy to manage? It may sound like I'm being a Negative Nancy, but I've always wondered the following and perhaps I'm not alone: what's wrong with the old you? What's wrong with the skin you're in. What's wrong with positive self-love for the person you are (and continue to become).
Of course, I'm not disputing the fact that when it comes to taking care of ourselves (mentally, emotionally and physically) there is always room for improvement. But this year, investigate goals that you can work on year-round, that won't leave you feeling defeated or drained. One of the biggest things that all of us can try to work on: loving ourselves more. And I mean it, really love ourselves and not just put ourselves on the back burner (this means investing in proper self-care). Sometimes it's hard to shut down the negative self-talk we have and become on our worst critic: trust me, I do this to myself all the time and I'm preaching to you (my awesome readers) about how we need to love ourselves. But hear me out: this has been something I have been working on for three years (or more) and I feel like each year, I get more positive, much brighter and a hell of a lot more happier. It takes time and maybe it's a goal you need to continue to work on year after year, but turning off your inner-critic and learning to love yourself more might just be the biggest first step towards bigger changes that you need to further yourself in 2016 and beyond.
Okay, so here are some ways to try and stop the negative self-talk and begin on a path to loving yourself. I don't have all the answers, but here are some things that have worked for me and I feel are fairly simple to follow:
(1) Try the power of possible thinking & challenge yourself to new things We always feel a lot of pressure on ourselves to be positive 24/7. Guess what? Life doesn't hand us roses all the time and life can be challenging, hard to manage and just straight up difficult as eff. But when life gives you lemons, make lemonade - as they say. Put positive energy into the universe and affirm yourself with positive things (surround yourself with a crew that supports you, write down all the things you love about yourself or do something new/fun to encourage your spirits). The more positive energy you exude, the most positive energy you'll find comes back your way.
(2) Write out the insults you say to yourself I know this may seem hard to believe, but write it down. Perhaps start a notebook or journal of all the negative things you're thinking or feeling. Then read it out-loud to yourself. Give your negative voice a name (for example: mine is Highstrung Harriet) and slowly read through all the things this 'person' has said. It will take you a minute, but you'll slowly begin to realize and register how awful the things we're saying really are. I have moments when Highstrung Harriet gets to me. I have to catch myself. It's hard, but then I read the things (usually only voiced in my head) and I laugh. Harriet needs to (in the words of the illustrious Alyssa Edwards):
(3) Embrace your imperfections, but actually Nobody is perfect and if someone tells you they are, they are lying. Here is the thing: you are the only person who is holding yourself to crazy high standards. Nobody else. Let them go. Let them go and embrace who you are: imperfections and all. We are humans and being humans, we are messy by nature. Give yourself the room to make mistakes, learn from them and grow. Admit that you don't know everything (and you can't). Learn from those who surround you to be better and live better. Use your weakness as a strength and my favourite: learn to laugh at yourself. This is a thing I do all the time. Life is not that serious and honestly, I am never not laughing. Sometimes it makes me feel better about a difficult day and sometimes it's just because if I can't laugh at a ridiculous situation, what else would there be left to do?
Okay so where am I going with all this? Regardless of some calendar holiday, embrace the person you are and work on the inner-self love and self-discover day in and day out. Relax your standards, give yourself empathy, be courageous and remember that you deserve all of the positive affirmations people throw your way (even when you think you don't deserve them).
On Wednesday, January 13th, I'll be flying out to Halifax and teaching a workshop on all this (and more) at Venus Envy called "Body Love with Ama Scriver". If you're in the area, you should join us! Tickets are $20 and only limited spots are available.
Here is to 2016 - New Year, Same You!