Every year, many people make a list of resolutions for the next year. While the majority of these are broken by February or March, we still continue to make resolutions. Perhaps making these resolutions make us hopeful that the next year will be better. That we will be better.
Most people seem to resolve to lose X amount of weight. Or to quit smoking, start exercising, find a boy/girlfriend, etc. While these are all great, especially the working for a healthier you, they can be quite difficult to achieve. Maybe resolutions that are less detailed and more general would be easier for us to make and keep. I found a general, but difficult single resolution that I need to fulfill and that maybe would be a good one for others as well.
This year one of my college professors advised that I needed to remember to be nice to myself. I didn’t ask what he meant and it took me a little time to work it out. My first thought was perhaps he thought I was working too hard, with a full time class load to earn my Ph.D., one full time job, and two part time jobs. Yes, I’ll admit I could lessen my workload a bit but there are reasons that I do all that I do. Then it hit me: I am actually quite mean to myself in another way: my impossible expectations.
I have always had high expectations for myself. After all, I’m the one who is in control of me and my success. As I get older I tend to make them even more impossible with no forgiveness for any failures or setbacks. And I don’t expect the same of other people as I hold myself to so much higher requirements. I can easily forgive others for personal faults but never myself.
So my resolution for this year is to be nicer to myself and let go of the self-imposed guilt, humiliation, and shame when any little mistake is made. I will celebrate the smallest victories and learn rather than ostracize for mistakes. I will acknowledge that I am human. I will try my hardest to accept me, imperfections and all.