Some days you need to step away. Just step away.
Sometimes a little distance or a little time is all we need to get some clarity, to heal, to catch our breath, to forgive, to do whatever it is we need to restore a sense of calm.
Yesterday, as I packed up the last of the Christmas decorations, I took a deep breath. And I savored the thought that 2013 was over. 2013 was not a kind year, and I’m not sorry to see it go. I’m looking forward to 2014 with hope.
At the beginning of last year, I made two resolutions. They were simple, and they remain to be things I strive for today.
The first: don’t take things personally. This one can still be a struggle at times, but it’s a mantra I’ve started repeating to myself whenever I start to overanalyze a comment or body language, interpret a person’s frustration with an outside cause as something I did wrong, or – my personal favorite – when I’m just plain crazy sensitive. It’s helped me a lot.
The second: nurture healthy relationships. Also known as “life is too short and too full to spend time with crappy people”. It just is. This one’s pretty simple.
This year, I’ve added another to the fold. To best love and bring joy to others, I need to love and bring joy to myself. Or, in other words, if I stop taking care of myself, I’m pretty much useless to anyone else.
This has been a hard one for me to tackle. Partly because it forces me to admit that I’ve done a lousy job of taking care of myself lately – and even further – that my personal struggles have affected other people, especially the one I love most. To achieve this goal, I’ve focused on being more conscious of the things I need to do to take care of myself. It’s nothing revolutionary – regular exercise (there’s a classic resolution for you), getting enough sleep, not being cooped up in the house too much, communicating openly. I’m such a better human being when I do these things.
Some of my self-destructive behavior was done with the mindset and motive that I was taking care of others. We’ve glorified the word “selfless” to be associated with humble, loving behavior – but having little or no concern for ourself can also be destructive. Like many things, being selfless is good to a point, but there are limits.
I know some people think that making resolutions are silly. The way I look at, having goals and working to overcome challenges are good things. If we need the beginning of a new year to remind us of that, so be it. Voicing our resolutions provides a sort of accountability. By sharing them with others, we can allow others to support and encourage us in our efforts – and call us out when we’re not living up to them.
Here’s to 2014, friends. Let’s make it a good one.