If 2020 has taught me anything, it is that life is unpredictable.
When circumstances get difficult, we either step up to the challenge and succeed, step up and fail, or back away knowing the challenge surpasses our comfort zone.
I dislike making New Year’s resolutions, so instead, I will spotlight what I intend to leave behind:
1. “Don’t worry, you can do it.”
Many of us know this phrase intimately. We say “yes” for whatever reason, then we realize before our head hits the pillow what a mistake it was to take on that additional task. Some of us are people pleasers, which means we fill up our plates far past their capacity because we are unable to say no.
This does not mean that being inundated with tasks or work is always a bad thing. Some of us thrive in some degree of chaos (like myself), but often, we are vastly unaware of our limits because we have never admitted that we have any. That is a hard thing to admit when we are used to being good at everything.
Don’t be ashamed to make that statement out loud. Some of us take a large amount of pride in the work we do and how efficiently we do it. The problem arises when we are blind to our limits. I do not have any particular line that I draw for my own personal capacity, but I know I am at my limits when my body starts manifesting signs of stress.
This usually means that I have taken on more than I can handle and that I either need to back off of a project, or get through it and remember for the next time that I am at capacity.
2. “You before me.”
This is a tricky attitude that comes with some obvious arguments against it. My children technically come before me, for if they are not fed and managed, I will end up losing my mind well before noon. The “you” is in reference to all the nonessential people we line up as priorities before ourselves
There are weeks that go by when I do not even touch a brush or a hair dryer. Then on some days, I wake up and say, “Holy crap—my family must be terrified that I have stopped caring about myself.” While hair care, bras, and pants are somewhat societal norms, it is easy to forget what self-care means. And the tricky part is that self-care is different for everyone; so whereas my self-care involves a bra and a hair brush, yours might require wine, girlfriends, and a night away from your home.
I want to task myself with myself before I task to others. This has been tricky for me, as I find it easy to slip into the “I don’t care” mentality. See, for me, my hair brush is attached to my confidence, my bra to my age, and my clothing to my overall sense of self-worth and appreciation.
I feel exponentially better when I wear jeans, a nice shirt, some light makeup, and do my hair. That is all I need to feel 50 percent better about my day.
3. Park the tightrope.
I want to stop tiptoeing around people and topics for fear of upsetting them. If you are talking to me, you are likely interested in my opinion and all the colour that comes with it. I find that when I spend time worrying about how others are receiving my messages, I start to doubt myself (Imposter Syndrome). Then I move on to some form of remorse or regret for having an opinion in the first place. Add some silence after our conversation, and I become a hot mess, thinking I blew it.
Reality is, as entertaining as this must look from the outside, it is all manifested from a small, scary dark hole in the back of my psyche that is terrified of letting others down. I want to care less about others (and I say that without callous) and more about the passion and importance behind my own opinions.
I hear a lot of people say how much they are looking forward to the change of the year, but sadly, I fear that COVID-19 and the world’s turmoil will silently sneak in the 2021 door behind us, no matter what we do.
Which attitude would you leave behind in 2020?