Do you remember a couple of Januaries ago when everything online was #NewYearNewMe? Is that still a thing?
I have been thinking about this time of transition into a new year. As people post their resolutions all over social media, I have to say, I'm underwhelmed. And it’s not that I don’t believe in change, or goals or capitalizing on the momentum of a communal event like the beginning of a new year. I’m a therapist. Growth is my FAVORITE.
My beef with it is this: Change doesn’t happen through resolutions proclaimed once a year on social media in the dead of winter when we are craving something new because what we have right now isn’t feeding us our dopamine hits as usual.
Change begins in one place and one place only: in radical and unconditional self-acceptance.
Sustainable change comes from within. We must grow on the inside to have the capacity to create lasting change in our external lives. That always begins with a loving acknowledgement of where we are now and who we are now. Change must be driven by love.
I see so many people trying to scare themselves into growing as humans. We all fear things like rejection, stagnation and failure, so we work extra hard to loose that weight, achieve that goal, find that new book that will really help our marriage. We search and search for external shifts to remedy our internal fears. And we fail, stagnate and feel rejected because we are doing it all backward.
Let's start from a place of connection instead of fear. Let's sit down with ourselves and say, I see you, I love you and I will not abandon you in this process. I accept you and say that you are worthy of connection and love today, just as you are.
Many of you will read those words and wonder if beginning from a place of acceptance will pacify you out of making truly necessary changes. My answer is a resounding NO. I get it, sometimes change is absolutely necessary and the idea of loving ourselves before we change is scary for some of us. Trust me. From this place of love, real change becomes possible.
The truth is I bring myself into every new year. New year, same me. Until I can be with myself in a peaceful and open way, all the resolutions I make are dictated by the voice of fear. Changes built on a foundation of fear will never last. And thank God for that!
Instead of crafting a list of goals to keep me safe from pain and rejection, I will sit down with myself and ask, What does the voice of love say about my life? How can I partner with that voice and be present with myself as I grow from the inside out?