At the beginning of January I decided I was going to set a few goals for myself to improve
my daily life. So far so good! I won’t go through the things I’d planned for myself but I can tell you I have been keeping to them with little slip-up. Here and there I lose track and I will confess my intent to meditate at the same time everyday has not worked out. In fact I have slacked on it and feel guilty because I know it’s good for me; also I feel better when I do the meditation regularly. Unfortunately, I ended up keeping to every second day for about 2 weeks then fell off that routine and only managed about twice a week sittings. So I am sort of ashamed of myself for this but am aware of it so will make an effort to change it.
Otherwise, I have been keeping a routine more or less that suits me. I did have a few overly ambitious goals I scaled back on and they’ve worked fine. The one goal I set for myself that I’m apprehensive about is going out twice a week in February, up from once a week for January. Once a week has been manageable and I have kept to this schedule. However, twice a week seems like a lot still. I know that sounds nuts but I’m something of a social recluse and find going out in public to be challenging. The fact the weather has been so terrible lately also hasn’t helped.
Instead of New Year’s Resolutions I picked a ‘word of the year‘ to focus on. My word I chose is ‘action’. A good choice for me since I spent the last couple of years not doing a lot. Well for me it felt like it was more than enough but I know to anyone else it would look like I was lazy. Unfortunately, emotional work does not show to others the same way working a job for pay or cleaning your house does. You can’t really show someone how many hours or units of energy you’ve poured into ‘bettering’ yourself emotionally and psychologically. Yet that’s what I do to myself. I look back on my past few years and think surely I did something measurable? But no, nothing besides some appointments and workshops here and there. The thing is I don’t look particularly abnormal and even at my sickest the only thing someone might have noticed was my emaciated body, not my fractured heart (I know, sounds melodramatic but it’s how I felt).
So these days I feel a pressure from within myself to actually be doing more. I have to
fulfill my word of the year! Action is perfect as a word for me. It’s both terrifying and necessary. If I want to get beyond staying incapacitated by my past I need to push myself to do things. At the same time I feel like retreating into a cave where no one can impose upon me any demands. Why is it so hard for me to just act? Why do I keep isolating myself to avoid people? Am I really so devastated by potential criticism or possible failure?
The irony of all this is if I don’t do anything I’m still failing and experiencing criticism, just
not from others so much as from myself. Although I have made great strides in overcoming self deprecation and harsh internal criticism, I still find myself short on self-compassion. There’s no doubt in my mind I have compassion for myself it’s just not always available ‘on tap’ when I need it! So what to do about it? How does one go about enlarging their self compassion ‘muscle’? Surely, there are activities I can do. Perhaps I just need to keep practicing. I am a heck of a lot better now than a few years ago regarding showing myself compassion.
You know I think I know what I have to do. I have to stop giving so much weight to what others think of me. Of course I’ve reached this conclusion before and obviously it hasn’t eradicated the problem. F***! Anyone have any advice on how to stop caring what others think of you? It’s not like I need approval for everything I do or reassurance that I’m making the right choices every time I do something. It’s just that there are some areas left where I do pay too much attention to how others will perceive me. I don’t want to stand out as ‘odd’ or ‘unusual’. But I’m quickly realizing if I want to be happy I may have to accept that I am not ever going to ‘fit in’.
Don’t feel sorry for me. It’s alright really. I never fit in a day in my life so why would I suddenly think there was hope for me now? The best thing I can do for myself is accept myself without comparison to others. Comparing myself to others is probably the last thing I ought to be doing if I want to be content. Let this be a cautionary reminder to you that comparing yourself to others never does anything except make you feel worse about yourself! Unless, you’re watching reality television to feel ‘superior’ to the likes of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. But I don’t think watching people we deem to be less sophisticated than us is at all praise worthy. However, I do confess to having watched Jerry Springer back when I was in high school to feel a certain sense of superiority-even though I did not acknowledge it as such at the time.
You need to accept yourself.” Or as Maya Angelou says, “success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
How has your January gone? Did you set resolutions or goals and manage to stick to them?