Sometimes I get a bit blue around New Year’s Day. With everybody making promises about things they want to change or do differently, I feel pressured instead of motivated, pressured to make another resolution about fixing some aspect of my life that could go better. Then I overfocus on my mistakes this year, on things that didn’t go well at work, in my family, or how I tried something new with mixed results. With all of these thoughts swirling in my head, I feel anything but excited about what’s ahead in the coming months. Ugh. Do you do this? Frankly, let’s do away with resolutions and focus instead on the wins from the year that just passed.
Focus On The Good
Wouldn’t it be lovely to gather around the table and share one achievement, along with our thoughts about how to further these? Take a minute now and reflect on something that happened in 2022 that you feel good about. It can be small, or it can be big. Size or impact doesn’t matter. What’s essential is shifting your mindset from fixing what’s wrong to enhance what’s going well.
I’ve always loved the gospel spiritual “This little light of mine.” When my children were young, we sang it at holidays or birthdays. We loved the message and the melody.
Lately, this song has been buzzing through my head as a theme song for my clients. It has helped me assist them in moving beyond previous limitations (set by others or themselves) toward taking appropriate risks for genuine participation in relationships, work events, and social situations.
Your 2023 Call-to-Action
When you grow up with a neurodivergent brain, whether it’s having ADHD, a learning disability, autism, being twice-exceptional, or dealing with mental health issues, other people may have blown out your light. Not once, not twice, but multiple times. This year, my call to action is to fire your light up and shine it, no matter what other people say or do.
It can be tough to shine your light in the face of criticism, misunderstanding, or rejection. It can also be challenging to try living as an outside-the-box thinker in a world marked by categories, labels, and judgments.
Shining your light isn’t about ignoring what’s happening around you but instead accepting yourself, warts and all, and owning what is unique and brilliant about who you are. Yes, we all make mistakes; that’s how human beings learn. These experiences can also be painful, embarrassing, and discouraging, but they are opportunities to grow, practice flexibility, and change.
Lowering The Volume on Negative Voices
Learning can be challenging to do and a struggle for many people. But it will also allow you to reduce the volume on the negative internal voices in their heads and raise the dimmer on the light switch to project something unique and positive about themselves instead.
Practicing self-compassion, being mindful about your choices, acting with accountability rather than shame, and talking to yourself the way you would speak to a third-grader with a skinned knee–will lead to more personal happiness and greater self-esteem.
In 2023, I ask that we honor our full selves’ wonderful, complicated nature. Reflect on one behavior or characteristic about yourself that you enjoy and that seems to make others happy too. This is what we can share brightly with others. I encourage you to stop beating yourself up for what you aren’t and start empowering yourself for who you are. When you foster a consistent connection with this part of yourself, the foibles seem smaller and less significant because they are. You are more than whatever a resolution aims to change.
P.S. After I wrote this blog, a friend sent me this poem by Donna Ashworth that she saw on Facebook. It was so synchronistic that I had to share it with you.
Let Your Light Shine!
Why do we start a new year with promises to improve?
Who began this tradition of never-ending pressure?
The end of a year should be filled with congratulation for all we survived.
And I say a new year should start with promises to be kinder to ourselves, to understand better just how much we bear, as humans on this exhausting treadmill of life.
And if we are to promise more, let’s pledge to rest, before our bodies force us.
Let’s pledge to stop, and drink in life as it happens.
Let’s pledge to strip away a layer of perfection to reveal the flawed and wondrous humanity we truly are inside.
Why start another year, gifted to us on this earth, with demands on our already over-strained humanity.
When we could be learning to accept, that we were always supposed to be imperfect.
And that is where the beauty lives, actually.
And if we can only find that beauty, we would also find peace.
I wish you peace in 2023.
Everything else is all just a part of it.
Let it be so.
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