Resolutions vs. Acceptance (and real change)

Sigh. It’s JGJ (Join-the-Gym-January)… that time of year when the self-help finger-waggers advise us to look into the corners of what we do and who we are in order to become “better versions” of ourselves.

So; you can focus on your shortcomings… (Oh, what fun) then start the weary trek up the JGJ mountain. Or you could spend the time accepting yourself as you are and in the background, let Change start working for you… not just for January, but (Gulp!) for the whole year.

Acceptance? “I can do that,” we say; “right after I’ve had the face-lift, made the million(s), sculpted the six-pack, bought the cottage, reached the C-Suite, married Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt, and been drafted by the Leafs.” All of them: dazzling. We like dazzle. It blinds us. It lets us bypass who we are (and can simultaneously rob us of experiencing genuine self-acceptance and happiness).

And Change? “I change all the time,” we say. “I’m tired of changing.” Yes; and, maybe it’s tiring because we don’t believe Change has its own wisdom. We don’t let Change be in charge of… well; change.

The Determinists may disagree, but one cannot expect nor force Change to “Jump to it!” at a stipulated time of year. Change takes time. It calls upon all kinds of unforeseen events and circumstances and hidden forces… the kinds of forces that have us turn on and confront a bothersome wrong, a nagging behaviour, or a bad habit… to the point that we slam down our fists and yell: “Enough!” and it is over.

Those are the forces that create authentic resolutions: resolutions that are tenacious; that hold on and hold together during the invariable challenges and obstacles.

So, why not make the resolution to accept yourself and let Change go to work in the background? For starters, you can see yourself in a truer context… a context that looks at all the good things you do – and are – every day: all the ways you bring integrity to your job, partner, family, friends; all the kind ways you help others; all the ways you contribute to this great enterprise we call life. It will make you happier, and a whole lot happier than if you’d slippy-slid-fallen off that JGJ mountain.

Here’s to good cheer and a truly Happy New Year.

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