January 1 Is an Arbitrary Date
/ Author: Susan Siemens
/ Categories: Blogs, Newsletters, National /
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January 1 Is an Arbitrary Date

Maybe what you need this year, or just this month, is the permission to rest, to be soft on yourself, and say no to some things that aren’t bringing you joy

By Sue Siemens, Regional Director, Cambridge Member Centre

The first day of a month happens 12 months a year, and yet somehow we believe that January 1 is more important than all the others. It’s the time to set resolutions, intentions, goals: lose 10 pounds, stop eating sugar, work out more, get more sleep, delete social media, learn a new skill. . . . And the list goes on.

Intentions and goals are good and healthy things, but I’ve always found the ones we associate with January 1 laden with shame and self-loathing. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to achieve so much, and during the coldest, darkest, hardest month of the year?

In my own experience with resolutions, by April, when I inevitably have not achieved the thing I set out to do, I feel a sense of shame and disappointment in myself for failing yet again.

I’ve noticed—and maybe you have too—that life is exceedingly hard for people right now. Whether it’s a devastating diagnosis of someone we love, the increasing cost of living and just paying our bills, an unexpected eviction, or even a stressful work situation, people have a lot going on.

It feels to me like the last thing we need is to pile on top of that an unrealistic expectation to achieve something new and great.

Maybe what you need this year, or just this month, is the permission to rest, to be soft on yourself, and say no to some things that aren’t bringing you joy. Maybe this month you watch more Netflix than you spend time outside because you’re tired, and that’s what your mind and body need.

I’m not advocating for a life void of resiliency or challenging ourselves to be the best versions of ourselves we can be. Instead, I’m reminding us all (and mostly myself) that it’s okay to rest, to pay attention to what your soul needs.

Regardless of what you achieve in the next 12 months, you are loved and worthy. January 1 is an arbitrary date. Be kind to yourself.

When there’s a crack in my mirror, I can’t see myself as I am

—all I see is the crack.

The crack tells me that there is something wrong with me,

that I’m not enough and that this is how others see me too.

It’s not a question of finding a better mirror.

It’s about seeing beyond the crack. I am not, nor ever will be, perfect.

But I don’t need to live for approval. I need to live for acceptance

and joy in the unique, worthy, lovable, beautiful, sacred being that I am

and to celebrate the same thing in others.

That’s seeing beyond the crack.

I’m learning to love my imperfections;

in the end, they make me who I am,

In all my flawed glory.

—Richard Wagamese, “Embers”

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