This time of year, we often begin setting goals and dreaming big.
We fill our journals with plans for the future and prepare ourselves for what’s next. We fill our heads with visions of sugar plums and make lists of endless possibilities.
It all feels so magical and exciting, and it is!
But sometimes in the middle of this beautiful process of expansion, we forget about gratitude.
The Winter Solstice, or the return to light, is the perfect time to pause, reflect and offer ourselves a bit of self-love. Sure it’s alluring to write resolutions like, “Next year I will get in shape!” But what if we sat under the sky and, with one hand over our hearts, whispered, “I am so grateful for my health, my resilient body, my ever-beating heart.”
Feel the difference?
I recently worked with a mother who was going through a transition with her teenage son. She thought she was setting important goals and boundaries, but he expressed that by setting so many goals for his future she was, inadvertently, sending him the message that who he is currently and all of the things he is accomplishing right now, are somehow not good enough. Until he shared that with her, she truly never realized that was how it was coming across.
I think the same can be said for how we speak to ourselves. When we repeatedly declare, “Next year I will be thinner/smarter/better!” we may also be sending the inverse message to ourselves that who we are today is not good enough.
And that’s simply not true. We are radiant, brave, resilient beings.
Try this short exercise:
Carve out 10-15 minutes of your time to sit quietly.
Take a few deep cleansing breaths, allow your muscles to release any tension, and repeat, “I love, accept, and respect myself.”
After you’ve done this for five or six deep breaths, think of the things you’d most like to change in the new year and then see if you can offer yourself some grace and compassion in those areas.
Find the gratitude from which to build your plans of evolution.
If you get stuck finding self-kindness, just repeat the mantra, “I love, accept and respect myself.”
When your 10-15 minutes is up, it is my hope you will feel lighter and more at ease.
Being motivated to become better versions of ourselves is an incredible feeling, and when we can do so from a place of reverence for the gift of what already is, I believe our chances of feeling fulfilled multiply tenfold. Even when we are exhausted, or angry or just totally ready to close one door and open another, granting ourselves permission to find the beauty in the imperfect now, is truly powerful.
Author: Shelby Castile
Image: Camila Damásio/Unsplash
Editor: Molly Murphy