By Kate Kole
I’ve spent so many January 1st afternoons frustrated with myself. Because I already ate the row of brownies I vowed not to indulge in, or I lost the patience I promised I’d keep, or I skipped the morning meditation I resolved to stick to for 365 days. Less than 24 hours in, I’d already lost. Declared myself imperfect. Taken the inflated anticipation of a new year – a sparkling clean slate – and watched and felt as all its hope and all my eagerness slowly dwindled down to disappointment.
It seemed like I’d either a) set standards above myself or b) failed to meet the attainable standards I’d set. And either way, it felt really shitty. I felt really shitty.
On this first day of 2018, I’ll turn a new page again and set some new intentions. Because I like the idea of a fresh start and mindful living. But this time around, I’ll take a new spin on it. One that feels a little more flexible and a lot more loving.
Aim to be your best self.
Not your perfect self. Sometimes that best self will look like getting up at 5 am, practicing yoga and drinking a green smoothie. Other times, it’ll will look like turning off the early alarm, slurping down a couple bowls of cinnamon toast crunch – and not beating yourself up over it.
Feel your feelings.
Check in with your heart daily. See what’s weighing it down and lifting it up and tend to it either way. Cry when the tears come. Laugh when the giggles arise. Sit with sadness. Shine with happiness. Groan with frustration. Squeal with joy. Allow yourself to be fully human and to experience all that comes with it.
Love your people.
Tell them in your love language, show them in theirs, express it mid-conversation, send it over text, write it on their status, say it even if you usually don’t, share it every way you can. Because there’s no such thing as saying “I love you” too much.
The little ones, and the big ones, and the ones in between. Appreciate the warmth of your hot cocoa mug meeting your hands in the morning, cherish a really good heart-to-heart with your best friend, enjoy the sight of the fireplace in the winter and soak in the feeling of your bare toes meeting the sand in the summertime. Make time to delight in life.
Take it all in.
Stop waiting for life to be flawless. And also stop waiting for things to go wrong. Both of those things will happen all on their own and without your illusionary control. Instead, start living. Really living, with all the highs and lows. Ride the wave, weather the storm, and then recognize your strength as you stand on the other side of both experiences.
Not the person you think you should be, but the person you are. Don’t abandon your soul in order to impress others. Go to bed at 8 o’clock, listen to country music, hold tight to your beliefs, watch Full House, be best friends with your mom, skip the fancy restaurant, order takeout instead. Do your thing. Without shame or guilt or embarrassment or worry about what others might think. Because all the things you deserve in this world, being yourself is at the top of the list.
Featured image via Pexels