Last night my husband and I watched a movie starring one of my favorite movie and television heroes. Handsome, brave and headstrong, sometimes rude, and yes, afraid of heights.
As I was watching, I thought about this column and how awful it would look in the movie if this delightfully strong man thought he should change himself into someone else because….Well, because he had problems that baffled and embarrassed him.
This column is for anyone who thinks they s h o u l d be better and do better: Perfectly imperfect people who torment themselves with "shoulds." I'm writing to you perfectly imperfect people: Parents, grandparents, husbands, wives, partners, singles, 'don't wanna a relationship.' These thoughts are for all of you who are hurt, traumatized or grieving, and anyone else who wants to do better and feel better in their lives.
I remember writing my first New Year's Resolutions at age 10. I was living in my parents dysfunctional and abusive home. Being so very bullied inside and outside my house I mistakenly thought I was the problem.
My misunderstanding was a mistake that many people make. We make it when other people are hurting us. Alternatively, when we are not able to reach a goal. Sometimes we face a seemingly unsolvable problem and think the dilemma IS us. Other times we face trauma, feel grief, sadness, loneliness or any painful feelings and blame ourselves for our painful feelings.
We have a false feeling that somehow who we are is just wrong. I've labeled this the ‘wrong rule.' It says to us that who we are, what we think, feel, do and even the space we occupy in the world is wrong. If only we were taller, shorter, fatter, thinner, smarter, not as smart, funnier, not so funny, and on and on. This ‘wrong rule' is not valid.
Please don't base your New Year's Resolutions on the "wrong rule!" Instead, you could think about it like this.
1. The normal problems in life are NOT because you are you.
You need not change who you are in the world. Such resolutions will not help you become a different person. Instead, they guarantee you to failure. Then, the decisions you've made to change your very being reinforce your sense that the problem is you. It's not.
2. Ask yourself questions about what gives you joy and happiness in your life.
• What gives you joy and happiness?
• What supports you?
• What encourages you to grow
• What helps you develop your world?
• What are your wants, goals, and dreams are in the world?
3. Think in positive terms not negative getting rid of thoughts.
It's easy to think negative because our world is full of negativity. Just watch television ads for a moment. Everyone sells based on things that bother you. They point out problems and sell you their product for a solution.
Positive is not taking away something from you. Positive is not demanding you change who you are. Instead, positive is about taking steps to love yourself.
4. Some examples of positive resolutions are:
• I will learn to use positive self-talk to encourage myself.
• I will spend more time with people who value me.
• I will listen to what people who appreciate me say.
• I will think about how people who value me act toward me.
• I will pay attention to the positives in my life.
• I will seek the support I need to reach toward my dreams and goals.
• I will use the support around me to walk forward into the life I desire.
These are resolutions that emphasize any positive change you want to make in your life. Such ideas don't blame you for the desires you have or problems you face. Instead, they focus on adding to your life.
This writing has been a brief column about New Year's resolutions. If you want more help with this, write me with questions you'd like me to answer. I can always write another column to answer questions.
If you'd like more help, please call my office to make an appointment for Parent Coaching at (615) 464-3791. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to assess if I can be helpful to you or your child.
I'd love to hear from you!