New Year

It’s that time of year when people make resolutions to be better in the New Year; lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, and on and on. How many people actually keep all their resolutions? I suspect that some do, but many fall by the wayside. So this year I’m not making any resolutions. Instead, I am going to pick a few words to live by for the rest of the year.

This isn’t my idea; a couple of people I follow have suggested it and I think it’s a wonderful idea. So here are my words for the year:

Forgiveness. I will forgive myself when I fall short of my own expectations. I will not berate myself for failing; I am human and am allowed to fall. The trick is to keep getting up and continuing on my way. I will forgive others who hurt me. This doesn’t mean it’s okay that they hurt me, but that I will not hold a grudge against them. We are all human; we will all hurt someone at some time. Someone who hurts me, intentional or not, will still be my friend, unless s/he makes a habit of it then s/he is gone. I will forgive and not hold a grudge, but that person is out of my life.

Gratitude. I will be grateful for every day, for every disaster I experience, for every blessing I receive, for everyone in my life. No matter what happens, I will express my gratitude to others, to myself, and to the Universe and the Creator.

Patience.  I will be patient with myself and with others. I will not hold people to my standards unless I am sure they can meet or exceed them.

Encouragement. I will use my daily affirmations to encourage not only myself but also others. I will encourage others to reach their full potential by helping them realize how much they are capable of doing.

Focus. I will keep my focus on the positive things and not the negative. I will not dwell on the bad things that happen because that will only invite more negatives into my life. By keeping my focus positive, I will attract more positives into my life.

Self Worth

Are you your own best friend? If not, why not? We tend to go through life looking for validation from others; only when others like us or compliment us do we feel worthwhile. If this is you, perhaps you need to change how you think about yourself. I know many people in less than ideal circumstances who love themselves; and I know people with all the advantages in the world who hate themselves. So circumstances don’t always affect how we view ourselves. So what is it that makes someone comfortable in his/her own skin?

For a long time, I was the community doormat – really. I tried to please everyone so they would like me; whatever they wanted, I would do. I was in my 40s before I woke up and realized I was exhausted, depressed, and so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I allowed people to treat me as if I were their servant; and because I had no self-esteem, nobody else thought I was worth anything, either.

Change came slowly over several years, and it wasn’t easy. I went to college for the first time at 39, in spite of those who told me I was stupid for wasting my time on education and that I was too old to go to college.  Well, guess what, I wasn’t stupid and I wasn’t too old. I earned my AA while going to school full time and working full time. I loved school and learning! So I decided to keep going; I earned a BA 3 years later. And that’s how I ended up in Arizona, alone, not knowing anyone, and starting graduate school, at the ripe old age of 44. I earned my MA two years later and haven’t looked back. Oh, there are still times when the self doubts kick in, but they no longer have power over me and my attitude. When I start doubting myself, I bring out my accomplishment list, and it’s a long one. It covers everything from raising two wonderful sons to being a good mentor to others; from being a good nurse in my first career to being a decent human being who loves helping others.

It is difficult, still, to toot my own horn. But if I don’t do it, who will? And if I don’t take care of me first, how can I take care of anyone else? I still have difficulty accepting compliments, but I have learned to just say ‘thank you’ instead of being self-deprecating. I have my affirmations and accomplishments to look at when I start being down on myself. And yes, I am my own best friend.

I no longer think that doing things I want or need to do is selfish; I am just taking care of me; I am just recharging my batteries. I will never, ever, be someone’s doormat again!