As much as I love this time of year there’s always been mixed feelings. I love the promise of a New Year fresh with opportunities, but at the same time I feel like I haven’t accomplished much with this year that’s ending. I never fail to get a little blue this time of year, and it sucks that I feel this way every year end, just not satisfied with what I’ve achieved.
But I know that I can’t stay here, wallowing in this funk. How do I climb out of this well? By being open and honest and facing a few hard truths.
Stop comparing apples to pears (or golden apples to oranges).
I know that how I’m feeling is greatly due to the fact that I tend to compare myself to others. It’s a really destructive habit that I know I need to break because it causes me so much pain. I compare myself to other people and wonder why I don’t have the same success that they do. Why can’t I be as outgoing as J? Why am I not as focused and determined as F? If only I could be more like K. But I’m me. And I have to learn to love and embrace who I am. (That too is another challenge of mine that I need to deal with). Breaking this habit is going to be a challenge because I do this so automatically. But I need to practice being mindful and whenever I find that I am comparing myself to someone else I need to stop and reverse that comparison with a positive statement about myself. So for instance “why can’t I be more outgoing like J” would become “I’m a great listener and an empathetic friend”. The truth is there is only one me and I need to embrace and love my uniqueness. It’s the only way to live.
Okay so I admire J for her outgoingness (is this even a word?) Most likely J does not know of this admiration. Maybe in J’s head there is this conversation: “Why can’t I be more observant and thoughtful like H?” Maybe J is comparing herself to someone else. I can break this pattern by complimenting J. Sharing with her what I admire about her will help her feel good and by extension will make me feel good as well.
Focus on gratitude
There’s always something to be thankful for. Always. No matter how seemingly small there is always something to give thanks for. I believe that life is what you focus on. So I choose to shift my focus to things that I am thankful for, filling my thoughts with things that bring me joy and gratitude. I know this will be new and will take some getting used to but I hope it becomes natural with practice. I’ve also started to keep a daily gratitude journal, and take some time at the end of my day to reflect and note those things I am thankful for that day.
Commit to change
In the face of challenges and just not feeling like you have accomplished enough or that you’re not where you need to be it’s easier to quit and give up than to keep at it and try harder. But that’s just what I need to do even though a part of me just wants to give up trying and curl into a ball wrapped in a cloak of “I’ll never be good enough”. I need to not give up on improving and becoming a better person and in 2014 I’m even more encouraged to keep focused and do just that.
Well it’s 3 days till 2014… Are you excited yet?