As the year began, a friend of mine posted on Facebook something she’s planning to do for 2014. Each month, she’s choosing something to give up — something that’s weighing her down or that she doesn’t need in her life. In turn, she’s adding something good each month.
I really love this idea. And, to be honest, there are probably a few things I could give up in 2014 that would be worthwhile, maybe even a relief. So I’m trying to figure out how I could implement something similar in my own life.
My friend’s focus is exercise and activity. I think my own focus needs to be a bit different. I need to spend time taking care of my soul this year. It’s felt a bit bruised lately. The only problem is that I don’t know exactly how to go about this. How does one go about feeling, well….more content? I mean, I’ve done all the obvious things. I’ve spent more time doing the things I love. I’ve worked on being more assertive. I’ve continued to work my way down the bucket list. I’ve upped my workouts and gotten stronger. In general, I feel great. Or at least I should. Because, really, I don’t. I feel, instead, like things aren’t quite adding up. Like life is great…sometimes. And other times, it’s just rather lackluster.
I should probably be clear that I don’t mean lackluster to be a lack of excitement. I’ve got lots of excitement in my life and all sorts of awesome things going on over here. I’m planning more trips (seriously, Australia is going to be awesome). I’m making more plans with friends and trying to surround myself with lots of love.
Yet. Something’s missing.
I’ve found that I’ve been rather hard on myself lately. Everything that goes wrong I’m quick to pin on, well, me. And I keep feeling like I’ve let myself down somehow. The things that aren’t perfect are the result of my bad choices (and I suppose at some point in your adult life, if the same things keep happening, you have to question this). I don’t know. It just seems I’ve been rather quick to take the blame for everything, and the same record goes ’round my head. Why haven’t I made better choices? Why didn’t I do this in school? Why didn’t I choose that person to date? Why can’t I freaking say what I need and then actually stick to it? It would seem there are a lot of, “Whys?”
And I realize this is doing me no good. I realize I have to change these thought patterns. I’m just in a bit of a rut, and I’m not sure how to get out of it. I suppose, at least I’m aware of it. And that’s something.
So all of that to say, I want to choose a focus each month and work on taking care of my soul. I need to turn it around. I need to feel more content and happy. And I need to feel more joy. Not the kind of joy you get from doing amazing things (because I have that joy). Rather, the kind of joy you get from sitting at home doing nothing, yet you still have the feeling of — dam, I feel good; life is good; work is good; friends are good. I am good.
Now that I’ve written all this out, I’m thinking I know one thing I can focus on — these negative thought patterns. Seriously, the negative self-talk has got to go. It’s not helping. I could sit here for weeks and analyze every mistake I’ve ever made, every bad choice. But what good will that do me? It seems it’ll just keep me in the past, rehashing my imperfections. I know it’s better to keep my mind in the present, to be positive, to focus on my strengths and good qualities. It’s much more important to make my current decisions count. It’s much more important to love myself for who I am. Ah, there’s another one. Stop the comparison game. I’ve really got to stop comparing myself to other people. I do it all the time. It’s bad.
Okay. So, there are two months worth of ideas (let’s hope I remember this post next month when I go searching for idea number two).
For January, my focus is this: put an end to the negative thoughts about myself, and turn them around. Turn the negatives into positives. (I’ve got some ideas for how to implement this, so I’m going to hash it out a bit and save the details for another post.)
As always, thanks for being my sounding board. I have always found writing to be rather therapeutic. For me, writing for an audience is oddly easier than journaling. So, thank you. I appreciate your hanging in there with me.