It has officially been the longest week in all of human history, in my apartment. No school or work because of the holidays, and nowhere to go because of Covid. Me and my two kids, all dealing with a newly broken marriage and exhausted.
It would be easy for me to want a new me. Can I go to the “me” coat-check, and get a new “me”? (I know that’s now how coat checks work, but just go with me, okay?) But it doesn’t matter if I want a new me; the me I have is the only me I’ll ever have, and I need to accept that, weird as I am.
“New Year, New You” sounds pretty sexy. It’s catchy and pithy, and sounds totally doable. How hard can four words be, after all?! And two of the words are an inevitability of planets and tides.
But, alas. Being a totally new you is impossible, because you have all of your memories, your traumas, your personality traits, and your children (if you have children). And if I told you that you could be a new you, but you’d have to give all that stuff up, you would say hell, no. We would, probably to a person, hang on to all of our old shit, rather than get rid of everything and start fresh.
And you are here, baby. That means that your past you has done something right, because present you is still hanging around. Think about all that past you has made it through, all the odds you’ve gone against, all of your successes, and all of your failures. Your old you is just fine; you don’t need a new you. Maybe instead of creating a laundry list of shitty traits you want to trade in, try celebrating how you’re still here trying, and still wanting to improve.
Instead of putting yourself on the rack of negative self-talk, try some kindness and compassion. Hey me, you’re doing okay. It’s all going to be okay. Thanks for your hard work. Love, me.
Wouldn’t that be great? Be kind to yourself, and you will inoculate yourself against other people’s lack of kindness.
Should you strive? Hell, yeah. Of course you should. Trying new things and reaching out for stretch goals is one of the best forms of self-care that I know. It is like you telling yourself that you can do better. That’s killer stuff, man!
It’s not kind to yourself to cut your soul up for parts and try to replace the parts that don’t meet your standards. Be you. Keep being you. Keep telling yourself that it’s okay to be you.
And if you want, when you want, make a goal for yourself, and gently guide yourself toward it. Let yourself be propelled by love, not fear. It’ll be okay. If you fail, let yourself fail. It’s okay to fail. You can try again. And keep trying until you succeed.
But don’t give up you. Keep you. Your you is the best you there ever will be. Let your you shine through, even amidst all your flaws and frustrations (and I know you know what they are!).
Then, when it comes time for self-improvement, you can jump in while being fully yourself. It’s gonna be great.
Featured image was created by the author using elements from canva.com.