New Beginnings

Every New Year’s Eve a large majority of us list all the resolutions we are surely going to keep in the coming year. Never mind that we’ve never achieved this before. We are certain this time it’s going to be different. We are going to lose that weight; we are looking for a better job; no more cursing for us; no more drinking till we are sick and dizzy. All that and more are going to happen. We even put the list of resolutions on the refrigerator door, you know, the place where we keep our beer, our desserts, heavy whipping cream for chocolate, high-calorie cheeses and much more that we swear we are going to get rid of. No more binging on chocolates or pistachio nuts. To make sure of this we write our weight on the refrigerator as well. It’s a rule of the universe that anything you see becomes invisible after three times. We know that. This time it’s going to happen for sure. To add to our great accomplishments we include jogging for one hour a day. Well, maybe we’ll start at 30 minutes and work our way up.

Does any of this sound familiar? We paint ourselves into a corner. First, we make the promises to ourselves. Next our subconscious begins to make excuses. Maybe it would be best to start jogging next week, and since we have three New Year parties to go to we can hardly be expected to start a new diet till those are gone. And all those goodies we have in the cupboard – chips and salsa, nuts and Ritz crackers with p-nut butter, I surely can’t throw those out. That would be wasting food.

Three weeks into the new year we realize we are not working towards any of the resolutions. It’s depressing. We thought we had stronger character than that. Aren’t we disciplined about cleaning our house, doing our laundry and grocery shopping? After all, it’s not weak character that keeps us from following through. It’s just not the right time. Maybe next year……………..

Why do we do this to ourselves? If we come from a dysfunctional home or are co-dependent, have never worked through childhood traumas we beat ourselves up for failing. Our parent’s ranting plows remembered circles in our brain, “Do that again. It’s not perfect enough, I can’t believe you only got a B in chemistry. What is wrong with you? If you start crying I’ll give you something to cry about, Joey next door is such an obedient child. You’re always getting into trouble.

An interesting factoid is that so many of the emotional and mental derisiveness hurled by our parents are received by our brain as true. So when your mom says you are lazy, you become what she believes. If your dad told you that you were stupid if you couldn’t figure out your own math problems, guess what? I dislike ironing, intensely. I traced it back to when I was 17 and still living at home. One of my weekly chores was to iron six of my father’s long-sleeved, white shirts. This was in the day before they had steam irons or spray starch. My mom kept all of his shirts in the refrigerator (true story)after she had dipped them into a starch solution. My father, who was continuing his rapes and his beatings at mom’s insistence, decided to punish me because when he had tried to dance with me the day before my legs trembled so bad that he shoved me away in disgust. When I had finished ironing (it took almost an hour to do one shirt) all six of them he walked over to where they were hanging, took one, crumbled it into a ball, wrinkling it as good as he could and then said, “not good enough. do it over.” He continued with each shirt until he had all six laying in their wrinkled state on the table. I was up late re-ironing every one, crying the entire time. I got the message.

Our path in life must contain approval, nurturing and positive reinforcement in order for us to be a success. Our parents are probably not totally to blame. They learned it from their parents and they learned from your grandparents. The chain goes a long way back. We can break that chain. But this does not mean that our parents are not culpable. It was either a control thing with them or they were abusive parents. Our children are going to learn procrastination from us and will pass it on to their children. Tom, my husband, says he wanted to stop procrastinating but he never got around to it.”

Only one person can make changes in our life. Like Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here.” Start with baby steps, then when you retreat it won’t feel like a failure. Don’t make resolutions you know in your heart you won’t follow through on. Every New Year I promise myself I’m going to start practicing piano again; I’m going to start playing the guitar again. So far it hasn’t happened. My daughter, for my 50th birthday, wrote a list of all of the things she had learned from me. It was pretty hilarious especially the one that states “A baby grand piano is a beautiful piece of furniture used as a table top for displaying 8×10 family photos.” So…..I doubt if that resolution is ever going to be fulfilled. I think this is a wee bit of “physician heal thyself”

We are constantly learning, evolving, with everything that happens around us. From some, we learn wisdom. From others, we will bear grudges. Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “The world is so full of a number of things we all should really be happy as kings.” Wouldn’t it be grand if we could all have that as our motto?

Give yourself some slack and remember life is about pleasure and purpose. Write your purpose down on paper, put it on your refrigerator and see where it takes you. If you don’t know your purpose, enter into the silent realm of your subconscious and concentrate on those things you like to do best. Follow that thought and you will find your purpose.

I wish all of my followers a joyful and prosperous New Year!!!!


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