This phrase is ubiquitous with the month of January. And like many colloquialisms, it seems harmless, it’s just part of the vernacular right? I’m not going to get all sensationalist here. This blog isn’t titled “The seemingly harmless phrase that could kill you!”. I just want to take a closer look at it, maybe challenge it a little bit.
So many things we see in the media focus on changing us; making us skinnier, our hair thicker, our face prettier, etc… If that isn’t enough, every January we get smacked in the face with ads about resolutions, mostly about working out and eating better. None of these things are terrible, in moderation. It’s great to be in shape, some folks love the art of makeup, who doesn’t want picture perfect hair?
But what if we are good enough, just the way we are? Seriously.
Somehow in our culture, we have developed the idea that shaming ourselves pushes us to be better. Turns out it doesn’t. Brene Brown has done some amazing research on this. In a shocking turn of events, shaming ourselves is actually quite discouraging. I know, shut the front door, right!?!
So back to the phrase, “New Year, New You”. Please listen to me when I say this
YOU DON’T NEED A NEW YOU. YOU ARE AWESOME. YOU ARE ENOUGH.
I hear the “buts” coming already… “but, I need to lose a few pounds”, “but, I lose my temper sometimes”, “but, I need to kick my sweet tooth”.
Those things may be true, but those things aren’t you. They are pounds of weight, they are feelings, they are habits. They aren’t you. YOU ARE ENOUGH. So pick one thing to work on at a time. Set some realistic goals. Start small so you experience success, success is reinforcing. For goodness sakes, when you reach your goals GIVE YOURSELF CREDIT! If I even sense you discrediting yourself, if I hear something like “well, normal people don’t eat a pint of ice cream a night so I don’t deserve credit for not eating a pint of ice cream tonight” I will come to your house, grab you by your shoulders, and tell you that you did a good job until you can no longer stand the site of my face. Too aggressive? Sorry. I’m passionate about this one. Your struggles are your own, so when you make progress don’t compare, own it, give yourself credit, and keep moving forward.
So this new year please note: you don’t need a new you. Please continue to be you, and continue to grow, improve, heal, learn, and challenge yourself. But stay who you are, you are awesome.
If you’d like to read some of Brene Brown’s work on coping with shame and challenging your imperfections check out these two amazing books