It is that time of the year when we write our good intentions, fuelled by an ideal of what we think our life should be. Comparing yourself to others or an earlier version of yourself is unkind. I was one of four children and had a wise and loving mother. She appreciated what each of us brought into the world and made room for us to shine without dimming one another’s light. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t furious when my little sister bought a pair of satin trousers (Abba style), the same as mine in a clashing colour, and then wore them to the same event as me. Siblings argue and compete. But a kind parent appreciates who we are without comparing us. We need to be that loving parent to ourselves.
When we tell ourselves what we should be, we are denying what we are. We imagine ourselves and our life to be different and beat ourselves up that we have not attained that life.
Replace I should with I am. This past year I have relaxed into the reality of my life. Not the life I thought I should have – because I was comparing myself to others, but the glorious reality of my life right now, the way it is. To let go of the angst, the tight control of an angry parent yelling at me to do better, was like sinking into my yoga mat. I could feel the release, the expansion of my heart – room to breathe.
When I realised how great my life is and marvelled at all I have achieved, I found joy in every task. Life was no longer a race or competition. It became an adventure – a magical, mystery tour. Because, when I let go and allowed my life to unfold, great and unexpected things happened.
Many self-help books tell us to imagine what our ideal life would look like with the promise that if we see ourselves living that life, it will become our reality. Manifesting abundance has become a common mantra for those who follow new-age thinking. I believe we can attract good things into our life by being open to opportunities, daring to move outside of our comfort zone, and by being positive. There is nothing mystical about this. It is about taking risks, seeing opportunities, and projecting a positive image that inspires confidence in us.
Instead of starting the year by visualising what your ideal life would look like and what you should do to achieve that, try this:
Visualise how you would like your life to feel. How does it feel now?
In yoga and meditation, we work through the body, relaxing it from our fingers to our toes. Recognising where we hold tension and then letting go. Understanding where we hold tension in our acceptance of self is similar. Maybe we have some work to do on letting go of past hurts? Be compassionate and kind – not critical.
Focus on the reality of your life now. What is it teaching you? When this time has passed – and time passes far too quickly – what will you miss? One day we may look back with regret wishing we had the same person, or people in our life, the health that we have today. We may long for an ordinary, predictable day. So, cherish every moment.
Relax into the now and let go of expectation. You are enough. If you have just one new year’s resolution, let it be – Be Kind to You. Because you are amazing.