New Years tends to shed light on how much time has passed and what we did with that time. We may look to where we fell short instead of what the past 365 days in the year may have taught us about ourselves. We start out the year with such bright-eyed hope and belief in ourselves, but by February 1st, many of us sheepishly make excuses for why our resolutions fail or blame others for the inability to stay on track with our goals. Come July, fewer than 1% of all resolution are made or are on track to be accomplished. So why do we keep coming back, time and time again, setting expectations for ourselves that will inevitably fail?
I know this routine well. I’ve struggled my whole life with measuring up to my internal idea of who I am. It has brought me the grit and drive to succeed but left me feeling empty, even after I’ve achieved what I thought would make me feel full. And for this, I feel even more shame. On all accounts, I’m a successful woman; who am I to complain about all I’ve been blessed with? And still, I cannot ignore the need to live up to my so-called “potential” through public declarations of self-improvement or constantly apologizing for my disorganized flightiness.
If there was one thing 2018 has taught me it is that we waste too much energy trying to be who we want to become instead of coming to peace with the people we are. 2018 Showed me the darker side of myself in a way I could no longer avoid, and surprisingly, it allowed me to come to peace with the parts of myself I’ve long suppressed. In finding peace with the things I was embarrassed by, it showed me how to appreciate the shortcomings in others people and in misfortunes that have shaped the person I see looking back at me in the mirror.
We’ve designed the rest of December around the concept of peace. The contributing writers and I will be exploring topics like using your purchasing power to bring a small business, non-profit, or someone in need peace of mind, making peace with your addictions, and finding a peace at home when life is totally chaotic. I’ll be exploring how to avoid the “Coulda Woulda Shoulda” trap, how to identify when your goals and expectations might be setting you up to fail, and how to find freedom through your failures. My hope is that you find yourself on December 31st feeling a little lighter, a little fuller, and a little more ready to turn a new leaf. To kick things off, we want you to share what peace you’ll be seeking this month. Answer the question:
It brought me ____________, ______________, and _______________.
You can download a cheat sheet of thought starters here. We encourage you to use them as ways to explore your inner relationship with shame and learn how to be your own peacemaker with your past.
BY Kate Arends - December 10, 2018
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.