Tuesday, January 01, 2013

No Resolutions

I have gone on record many times as not liking new years' resolutions. Also, as some of you know, I write for an indie newspaper out of Washington state. I rarely cross these streams, but this month's article is the same thing I want to write here. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I'm just going to cross post. Enjoy! 

Back when I worked in human services, I had an exercise I did with my groups. Take a piece of paper and brightly colored pens and write everything you liked about yourself all over the paper. It was good for these women to see it, have it there in front of them. One woman, though - it was eighteen years ago, but I remember her so clearly. When it came time for me to show off everyone’s papers, hers was almost blank. In one corner, in little tiny letters, in black ink, she had printed “I’m a good friend.” All I could do at first was look at it. Finally, I looked at her and asked if that was really all she liked about herself. She nodded. My heart broke.

I did the only thing I knew to do; I told her it was the saddest thing I had ever seen. I told her we were going to fix this. The rest of the group chimed in. They loved her. They knew there was more to her than that to like. As much as I wanted to let them go, the point of the exercise was to acknowledge what we liked about ourselves. In this instance, the group didn’t matter.

Instead, I turned her paper over and handed her a hot pink marker. This time, though, she wrote I AM A GOOD FRIEND! It filled the page. Those five words took over those 8.5 x 11 inches in hot pink. She started to weep, saying “it’s so beautiful…it’s so beautiful…” Let me tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in that room.

On that note, I have a recommendation. For many years, now, I have gone on record as being…less than excited, shall we say…about New Year’s resolutions. Starting a new year that way inherently requires us to make a list of things we don’t like about ourselves. Why would we do that?? Instead, this year, let’s celebrate the things we like about ourselves.

Get your piece of paper. Get your colored markers. Fill your page. Make it big. Make it loud. Make it yours. I promise you, there is something wonderful about you. You are worth hot pink letters pouring off the page. What better way to start a new year than by remembering those things?

When you’re done with it, tuck it away somewhere safe, frame it and hang it on your wall, tape it to your bathroom mirror. Whatever you do, don’t just throw it away. We can revisit them next year and see what we can add in a year.

May your 2013 be even better than your 2012. Until next month, take care of you.

And those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Ian Lidster said...

That is a lovely bit of wisdom and a wonderful exercise. I think I'm going to try it.
You are a good (albeit newfound) friend and I'm glad you're my friend. And may you and yours have a wonderful new year.

Cut Porker said...

I thought I'd made it clear a long time ago. You can't do this on a piece of paper with a hot pink marker and then stow it away. You have to put it on the chest of a spandex shirt and wear it under your secret identity's regular clothing. No matter how bad things get, you need to be reserved, control yourself, but know you have amazing gifts... that you don't want the Green Goblin to know about. Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I took the time to read this story, thanks for sharing it! Typically I like to keep such things locked inside and dread classes with those types of exercises. But this was a very, very happy ending.