New Year aspirations

New Year’s Day can be a traditional opportunity for self-flagellation. All those resolutions about diets, gyms, lifestyle changes, giving up smoking, drinking, achieving more… It can be less about making change and more about a chance to beat yourself up for shortcomings, real and imagined. As the next couple of months will most likely be grey, cold and depressing, its hardly an idea time to give up the things we find comforting, or attempt to make ourselves run around getting wet.
As a younger person I used to thoroughly indulge in this annual opportunity to give myself a hard time. Convinced I was far too fat, I would promise to starve myself. I have a very efficient body, I adapt to famine situations. Starvation attempts never consequently led to much weight loss, but they did play havoc with my body, and increased my predisposition to store fat. About as counter-productive as you can get, really. Not eating was a simple way to express the rage and frustration I felt with myself, for all the things I was not, and could not do well enough. An invisible form of self harming.
Looking back it is apparent to me that I had no sense of ‘good enough’ or of being an ok person. I felt under constant pressure to achieve more, get better results, earn more money, be more pretty, more likeable and all that guff. I had a great deal of external support in developing and holding that perception right through until the last few years. I also, from my teens, had a body that wasn’t working terribly well, and nothing useful from the medics – an early diagnosis of ‘psychosomatic’ left me feeling unable to ask for help. Maybe one day I will pluck up the nerve to go back and say, actually, that illness a doctor told me I was imagining? Well I’ve spent the last twenty odd years now dealing with pain and fatigue, and no amount of telling myself that it’s all in my head makes it go away. Any chance of a rethink on this? Maybe one day. When I’m feeling brave and have convinced myself there’s a point. In the meantime, I can work on accepting that this body of mine has limits and is a finite resource, and not keep pushing to breaking point on the grounds of thinking I *should* be able to do more than I can.
New Year’s resolutions are a useful opportunity to reimagine, and rethink, if you use them that way. It does not have to be an opportunity to pile on the misery, nor to set yourself up to fail. It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to figure this out. Better late than never. Not beating myself up has been an ongoing intention for some time now. Some days, I do better than others.
This year’s set goes as follows:
1) To be gentler with myself.
2) To say ‘no’ when I need to and to guard my energy and keep it for the things that matter most to me, respecting my own limits.
3) To be less tolerant of bullshit.
4) To invest more in the people and activities that really make me happy.
5) To devote more of my time to trying to put uplifting, inspiring, encouraging material into the world.
6) To boldly go…. (I’m not sure where, Brighton for one, but, places, and boldly).

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

One response to “New Year aspirations

  • lornasmithers

    I think you’re bang on with rather than placing demands and restrictions on yourself resolving instead to do what makes you happy. I’m not making any resolutions other than to see my existing commitments through and not take on more than I can handle.

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