Saturday, December 31, 2011

Be Good to Yourself

We are moments away from a brand-new year, and so many of us are full of hope for a fresh start. But the truth is there is no magical "reset" button we can push at midnight. Our lives don't automatically change with the changing of the calendar. Despite our hopes and dreams, most of us will wake up on January 1st to the same worries and sorrows that plagued us at the previous year's end.

We all know this dismal truth, yet most of us approach the new year with optimism anyway, hoping that just maybe this will be the year when FINALLY we'll make some changes!

Do you make resolutions? I always do. Mine just keep getting more numerous and detailed each year -- a complex outline of all the ways I'd like to improve myself over the next 12 months. Many of the goals are attainable, but the idea that I can accomplish them all in one year is a little absurd. Hey, it's no secret that I like to punish myself with unrealistic expectations!

This past year I have discovered, painfully, how damaging that habit can be. I have excelled at one thing: being way too hard on myself. I think I'm ready to get off the path of self-destruction and get back on the road to good health (mental and physical), but my map will not be an outline detailing zillions of things that I need to do better. This time I'm starting with a simple resolution, one that I recommend to everyone: BE GOOD TO YOURSELF!!

I think sometimes we try to take care of ourselves but go about it in all the wrong ways. I'm not talking about seeking instant bliss through spending money we don't have on things we don't need, or eating too much of things that are terrible for us, etc. Those happy moments are fleeting and we are left fundamentally no better off than we were before.

The true "good" that we can do for ourselves is showing the same kindness, mercy, and compassion that we try to show others. It's okay to love yourself. Really, it is! It's not selfish or arrogant or conceited to love yourself the way God loves, or the way a mother loves. You can be aware of your shortcomings and strive to do better without hating yourself for being a failure. You and I are not failures. We are imperfect, and also perfectly lovable.

So my challenge to you and to myself for 2012 is just to be good to yourself, all the time, every chance you get. Be your own best friend and biggest fan. Your problems might stay the same, but they'll be a thousand times easier to handle if you are feeling loved and valued. And you might be surprised at everything else you can accomplish if you start with treating yourself right!

A friend once recommended that I listen to Journey to lift my spirits during a rough patch, and in turn I leave you with these lyrics:

"Lookin' back with no regrets
To forgive is to forget
I want a little piece of mind to turn to
Be good to yourself when no one else will
Oh be good to yourself."

Happy New Year!

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