New Years is my favorite holiday. There’s something about reflecting back upon the year that’s about to pass and setting my intentions for the future that fills me with hope and motivation. I’ve decided self-acceptance is the name of the game for 2020. Last year was full of facing some hard truths about myself and learning how to best set myself up for success. This year will likely be more of the same, but I hope to bring some more self-compassion to the picture.
I’ve learned, for example, that I am just not a Christmas person. I never look forward to it and find the whole ordeal extremely stressful. I can’t wait to put the decorations away when it’s all said and done. This year, I followed suit with my plan to order the food instead of cook it myself, as I did for Thanksgiving. This helped immensely but I still found myself irritable, depressed, and just wishing the day would pass as quickly as possible. It’s the same way year after year and I’ve always pushed through but never did anything to make a positive change. After yet another dismal experience this year, I realized something. Instead of staying home, opening gifts, and cooking a big meal, I would love spend the money on an experience instead. If taking a trip is not in the budget, then even getting away for the day would suffice. Going to a nearby National Park, packing a picnic, and spending the day hiking or climbing trees with my kids sounds perfect. Each of my boys can draw straws to see which sibling to buy a gift for and then receive one from mom & dad or Santa and that’s it. We can spend the day focusing on what the season is really about rather than worrying about getting a turkey in the oven, what’s on TV, cleaning up the aftermath of the morning, and all the other hassles that have become enmeshed with what should be a sacred day. I’ve been like a round peg trying to fit myself in a square hole for so many years that the idea I could actually change something never occurred to me. I opted to beat myself up for being so miserable instead of working with myself and accepting that no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be signing up to sing Christmas carols.
My goal is to bring this awareness to other areas of my life I want to change. What do I want and what can I realistically handle? This is key when you are living with a mental health condition. There’s no sense in setting a goal like getting up extra early to exercise before everyone else wakes up when getting solid sleep is so critical for me. I’ll need to find another time. Ultimately, when we bring compassion to self-awareness, we get acceptance. And isn’t that our highest goal?