I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps that’s because I’ve always made the wrong one, ones that weren’t about what I really needed to accomplish for myself. Most of my resolutions that I failed to keep were about improving myself more the benefit of others than for myself. They were about how I was perceived and managing those perceptions. It took a lot of self-reflection for me to come to that conclusion. I’ve always been a bit of a loner — even in crowds. I’ve always measured myself against myself. Nevertheless, we all derive some portion of our self-esteem from the opinion of others. It feels nice to be praised, to be respected, to be admired. That aspirational version of myself I strive towards isn’t a construct of my mind alone. It’s been shaped by the societies and cultures I’ve lived in. It keeps shifting and changing. It will always keep shifting and changing. I can see that more clearly now.
My New Year’s resolution (if you can call it that) is to become more aware of my contradictions and not be so quick to dismiss and try to efface the parts of myself I’m uncomfortable with. Interrogating the things we don’t like about ourselves is difficult. True self-reflection can be quite painful. There is unpleasantness, even darkness inside most of us. To live is to suffer. Not all the time, not as much as some, but enough prod the shadowy parts of ourselves into motion. This year, I plan to shine more light on those parts of myself. I hope to turn the sharp knives I thought would cut me to shred into tools.
New Year, New Law: Bring the darkness into the light.
Happy New Year to everyone! I hope your 2019 is filled with challenges you wrestle your way through to a better version of yourself. I also hope there’s lots of love, laughter, and good times!