Perfect Me 2016

GI’ve been thinking a lot about new year’s resolutions lately – which means tearing myself apart and making lists of all the ways I don’t measure up to some idea I have in my head of what the perfect me would look like, would be like….and making plans to become that person. If you break it down, there’s a lot in me that is simply deficient. So I was well on a way to a plan, but….

I hereby declare that plan is taking a detour.

Watching some of you is my reason to change direction. I see you make resolutions that are going to add stress to your life…..and you are already at your stress tipping point. I see exercise programs that are being developed with no thought as to whether it is good for the long term condition of your body. They are going to discourage and punish you, lead to injuries, and in the long run aren’t really creating a healthy body with staying power. I see schedules being made that are more about what you think you should do, or what others want you to do, instead of how you can best live your priorities. I see diet programs that don’t encourage you to eat real food or reflect color and nutrition and flavor and variety. They will make you a rigid zealot instead of someone who delights in the bounty of possibilities and creativity, and finds the right combination to best fuel you , satisfy you, and help you learn the concept of enough.

Then there’s the whole idea of how short and precious life is. I’ve seen a bit too much mourning lately….too many lively and loving souls gone sooner than we expect. Too many hard things we have to deal with by just living life. So why aren’t we focused on how to create more joy in our lives and the lives of others? How come we’re not focused on how to spend more time with the people who love us and cause us to spend hours laughing in delight? How come we’re not focused on loving for real and in person, instead of being tethered to our cell phones or computer screens and just going through the motions or giving lip service?

I look at you and I see disdain for yourself. I find you’re not celebrating something I think is worthy of an amazing celebration …the you of today. I like you, the way you are. Right now. The imperfect you. You don’t have to meet a crazy ideal before you’re good enough to be loved by me…and I’d rather not miss you while your vision is laser-focused on making all of these changes that will alter everything in your picture and make you perfect. I think perhaps the people who are important feel the same way about me.

Not that we shouldn’t make some tweaks or work on some things that are holding us back from living our best life. But to use the negative as the goal of our new year? Why would we do that?

So let’s love ourselves for who we are today. Let’s live in the now. Let’s find the things that delight us… and find ways to delight others. Let us see the beauty in even those people who annoy us…and laugh at their quirks instead of letting them drive us crazy. Let’s live life….and not always from our comfy couch, but sometimes getting up and being social, engaging in life, facing the things that scare and intimidate us. We can be conquerors (or “more than conqurerers”), but with smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts.

Let us celebrate our good gifts, celebrate our God, and celebrate our lives. And let us also celebrate the imperfections – the things that make us humble, the things that make us sensitive to others, and the things that give us motivation to try new things and grow and change.

Yes, let’s love ourselves….and strive to be people we are proud to be. Let’s be easy graders, but also strong encouragers. Not just of others, but of ourselves. Oh we can spend hours making lists of our imperfections and develop plans to correct them, but how about instead we make lists of the things we like about ourselves and work at increasing those?

So my resolution is to increase the good, and let it overwhelm the bad. To look at the kids around me and copy one of their most lovely qualities….to be delighted in myself. Tell a child they are a good singer and they will say “Yes I am”…. and proceed to show you. Loudly and with exuberance. Truthfully they may not be on pitch, but as they sing their joy increases, as does the joy of those around them. Tell them they are beautiful, and they will say “Yes I am”….and preen as a princess. Tell them they run fast, and they will take off running in circles around you, showing you just how fast they can be. Tell them they are funny and they will tell you the worst knock-knock joke ever….and you will both laugh hysterically.

Of course, there are the critics….even of these sweet children. Let’s just ignore them most of the time. You’ve seen kids do that, right? They look at them like they’re out of their mind. Critics tear down instead of building up…and while we may need to listen to them on occasion, we’re going to use them for information we can consider. We will make our own judgments about whether that information is worthwhile to us, and we will not use them as our ultimate authority. Because really….do we want to emulate their sour faces and critical spirits?

Resolutions should represent hope, not potential failure. They should enhance our life, and not bind us to a programmed existence that makes us feel that we are not enough.

Happy new year. That’s not a rote saying that I offer carelessly. Really…I wish you happy. I wish you joy. I wish you peace. And I wish for you the spirit of a child, delighted with yourself, with others, and with the possibilities of life. 2016 is almost here and it is a good gift from God, with the possibility of 366 presents for you to receive . More if you want to count by minutes or moments. Open each one with the intention to love it, use it, and display it for all to see. Because you…we…are loved today and we are gifted. Why should we hide that? Why should we do anything but celebrate every moment…. and love the perfection of us in it?

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