Normally I’m not a New Years goal/resolution type person. If you’re sifting through this blog you can totally call bullshit on that -I’m pretty sure I say that every year and then post some anyway. So I guess I’m a New Years goal and resolution person who doesn’t like to admit it? Or maybe I just like a little year’s end reflection. Last week I was hanging out with my brother and describing my TMJ issues which tend to get worse with stress.
“What are you stressed about?” he said. And he didn’t mean it in a snarky way.
I laughed. “Nothing, everything. The state of our country, the changing climate, whether or not I got my kids the right gifts for a holiday I don’t even really believe in. Whether or not my purchasing of the right gifts will result in them living happy and fulfilling lives.” So you know, the usual.
But his comment stuck with me because truthfully, most everyday type stress is a direct result of our own reactions to the events of our lives. I recently read Man’s Search for Meaning which is part of the Holocaust literature canon written by psychologist and death camp survivor Victor Frankl. The book is unique because it’s not a traditional narrative but rather delves into the psychology of suffering using the concentration camps as background. Light stuff, I know. His main point about suffering is that there will be suffering, and while we cannot often control the source of that suffering, we do have some say in our own reaction to it. I couldn’t go too far with this theory. I’m not someone who would try to put a smiley face on painful experience, but it does help with smaller daily life type stressors. Do they need to be stressors? Do I need to react to them in a stressful way? I’m talking to you TMJ!
So beyond my personal goal to use less plastic in 2019, I’m also setting a goal around awareness. Awareness of the way I’m thinking and the patterns I can get into -just awareness. My goal isn’t to change, change will come or it won’t. I think change implies judgment and I’m not trying to judge myself. I’d like to be more kind to myself. So, awareness, presence and kindness. Bring it on.