New Year Resolutions: I’m done allowing myself to feel like a failure

Refection

I used to be among the people who made new year resolutions. We are always hopeful going into a new year, right? New year, new beginning. It’s like a reset on life, in many ways.

I’ve made many resolutions over the years:

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat Clean
  • Lose weight
  • Workout regularly
  • Meditate/Yoga daily
  • Join this or that club/group
  • Do less of that and more of this
  • and the list goes on

What I’ve noticed over the years is that often times my resolutions were basically a way of setting myself up for failure. It doesn’t matter how many years I make resolutions, new ones or repeated ones, I seldom find success in them at the year’s end. I do great for a few weeks, but after the excitement of a new year/new beginning fades away and the realities of life make their way back in, my resolutions get dropped and forgotten. Some I will retry, again and again, throughout the year. Some might last longer or even become common practice, but more often than not, the result by year’s end is failure to succeed with most, if not all, of the resolutions I’ve made.

This has left me feeling defeated year after year. I’ve questioned, “what is wrong with me? Why can’t I follow through with these resolutions?”. I’ve talked down to myself; telling myself and believing that, “I’m weak”, “I’m not strong enough to succeed”, “I’m a failure”.

All of this negative self-talk and doubt is due to a list of resolutions I made a year ago. I base my year’s success (or lack thereof) on the things I failed to accomplish on that list throughout the year. All the while ignoring the things I did accomplish, that weren’t on that list, throughout the year.

Talk about defeating!

Looking Ahead

Having come to a point in my life where I don’t find it necessary to consciously set myself up for failure, I’ve decided to take a new approach to 2018’s resolution.

I’m resolving to:

  • work towards being better than I was the year, month, week, day, moment before
  • try to be more aware of what my emotions and body are telling me
  •  allow myself and give myself permission to make mistakes
  • accept and forgive myself for mistakes I make; I’m not perfect, I’m human
  • try again after I’ve made a mistake rather than to view myself as a failure

The difference between my resolutions for 2018 and the resolutions I’ve made in previous years, is that I’m allowing room for mistakes, acceptance, forgiveness, and understanding. None of my resolutions for 2018 are finite, they are things I will work on and put effort into. I know that I will make mistakes, I know that my drive and determination will waver, and I know that I will lose my awareness throughout the year; I also know that these things can be forgiven, I know that my awareness will always return and when it does I will return to working towards and putting effort into being better in the present moment than I was in the previous moment.

This feels a lot less defeating!

Conclusion

This life is mine. Your life is yours. Our only finite resolution, not just for a year but for all of the years of our lives, is to live it the best way we can in each moment; to allow ourselves acceptance and forgiveness for mistakes we make, and to know that we are not defined by our mistakes, but rather by what we do after we make them.

Best wishes to all and for a kind 2018!

-Dani

 

Dear Dani: A letter, an apology, a commitment to myself

Dear Dani,

I am so sorry. I am sorry for all of the terrible things you’ve endured in your life. You didn’t deserve any of it and none of it was your fault. You were a child, you experienced terrible things and kept them a secret. You were scared and felt very alone in what you were going through.

As you got older you found that similar experiences repeated themselves. You felt like you had no control of anything. Life was just one experience after another, ugly things continued to happen to you and in your life, and you did the best you could to get through it all. You were still really a child, even though as a teenager that wasn’t how you saw yourself, but you were. Like all teenagers you thought you knew everything, but later years taught you that you had no idea. What you learned to this point in your life was how to manage your chaos and you did so by building massive walls and shutting down any real emotion or connection to anyone. It was what you had to do to survive. For awhile it seemed like you were ok. No one could hurt you because you had constructed such a strong exterior. I am sorry that you were brought to a place in your young life that forced you to lock everyone out or rather to lock yourself in, to shut down your very own emotions, to have to become so closed off in order to not feel the pain of everything you had endured and were continuing to endure. I am sorry you had to carry that kind of pain.

What I am most sorry for is that even as an adult I’ve treated you the same as so many others have. I’ve neglected you; I’ve disrespected you; I’ve abused you emotionally and verbally; I’ve knowingly walked you into heartache; I’ve made regrettable decisions you’ve had to live with; I’ve let you down time and time again. I am so sorry that I, too, victimized you. You did nothing to deserve any of this and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for the ways I’ve wronged you. No rush, take all of the time you need, I’m not going anywhere.

I didn’t know how to love and care for you the way that you so desperately needed me to, and I’m still learning. The more I learn the more I admire you. Everything that you have been through, endured, seen, heard, felt…you’re still standing. No matter how many times you’ve been knocked down you always get back up. You have a strength inside of you, a will, a desire, a passion that is so incredibly powerful; and that my Darling, is something to be admired. I haven’t always seen you as having that kind of strength and that is another thing I am sorry for. I have underestimated you and your ability so many times. Again, I didn’t know how to love and care for you. I’m not trying to make excuses for my behaviors and actions towards you but, given everything we’ve been through, I think we could ease up on ourselves a little. It’s amazing we are even still alive and I owe that to you! Without your strength, resilience, and determination there is no way we would’ve come this far and I will forever be grateful for your ability to get back up when it would’ve been so much easier just stay down. Thank you for fighting for us.

Sweetheart, you’ve carried more than enough of the load on your own for far too long, I’m going to take it from here. I know you don’t trust me and you have every reason in the world not to. I’ve not been here for you like you needed me to be, you’ve never been able to depend on me, I’ve put you at risk and in danger numerous times but I am asking you to please trust me one more time and to be patient with me as we go forward, as I said, I am still learning.

My commitment to you as we go forward:

I promise I will do my best not to let you down.

I promise I will put you first and I will always protect you.

I promise I won’t knowingly put you in any more unhealthy situations.

I promise to do a much better job at loving and caring for you and meeting your needs.

I promise I will clear a path for you to follow your dreams, passions, and desires.

I promise I will keep us working towards thriving rather than just surviving.

And I promise to listen when you tell me that you’re not okay.

I will not abandon you. I am right here. You are not alone.

 

With Love,

Your Functional Adult Self