As we head into the new year, I’ve been thinking about resolutions and the drive that we have as humans to want to be better and progress. The internet is blowing up with ads for gym memberships and everything seems to have a focus on losing weight. A lot of money goes into marketing for improving physical beauty and health from so many industries. It makes me wonder what changes we would see if we invested as much time and energy into the less visible parts of our lives.
What would our neighborhoods and our communities look like if on an individual level we focused on our compassion for others and for ourselves? If our new year’s resolutions focused on how to develop patience and an ability to listen to others who think differently than us. What if we committed to work on our capacity to feel and stay present with the people we love?
I must admit I am exhausted with the world of news. I feel worn out and tired of watching people posture and treat each other badly. When I give myself a break from that and turn to other outlets, like magazines, I feel like the most common theme I come across is information about how to look better. News and media have started to feel like a one-two punch. Either I feel helpless and angry or saggy and ugly! The truth is the world is also a beautiful place where people regularly take care of each other and we can add to that beauty by turning inward. Here are my thoughts on how to improve the unseen parts of our lives.
Let’s start with ourselves. We are able to do more and be more when we believe that we can and when we like ourselves. Take some time today to listen to the ongoing messages in your head. Are they kind and patient? Do they give you the benefit of the doubt? Think of how it would feel to treat yourself like you would treat a dear friend. What are the things you love about yourself? How have you made a positive impact on your family and friends? What makes you, you?
Patience and Compassion
The world could use more patience and compassion. I have talked about this in previous posts and it continues to be an important topic that is regularly on my mind. How can we put into practice the underlying value that so many of us feel; that people are more important than ideas. The hollow part of my chest aches to see and feel more compassion. To listen more, and feel more, and to be open to change.
The last thing I want to suggest is staying connected to our feelings and remaining present with the people we love. There are so many things competing for our time and attention, and there are also so many ways to numb out and disconnect from the world, including drugs, alcohol, binge watching TV, or playing video games until you drop.
Addiction runs in my family and I’ve had the unfortunate experience of watching loved ones fade away with drugs and alcohol. It’s such a loss to see lives stolen in this way. There’s no one way to fix this problem, it is multi-faceted and complex, but one approach is to look inward and learn how to cope with difficult emotions. To prevent the need to feel numb by learning what to do when we feel things we don’t want to feel. This work is hard and takes time, but it is worth it because we are worth it.
So, as we head into the new year I hope for change. The kind we can feel and hold on to. I hope for more kindness for ourselves and others, and for a deeper resolve to feel patience and love. And when life knocks us down, because it will, I hope we will stand our ground and fight to stay connected and present.
Happy new year!