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The 2015 Revolution

– By Charity Hagains MA LPC-S

2015 is in full swing! Time for all that “New Year, New You” crap again. Is anyone else exhausted with the idea that we are suppose to be continually reinventing ourselves? That we all respect a tradition that tells us to make a list of the great many things we dislike about ourselves and vow to resolve these issues before year end is just insulting.
Hear that marketing guru’s, I am insulted!

Too easily we buy into propaganda that demands we highlight our weaknesses, seek out our flaws and pursue perfection in every area of our lives. Hey, I get it. I mean how many Botox units can you really push if your marketing campaign is focused on the beauty of aging rather than stipulating how we must “defy the hands of time.” Best we all feel inferior and thus in need of whatever product being sold to cure us of our inadequacy.

This age old way of looking at the world has us all focused on what is negative in our lives. We seek out that which is “wrong” each day, then wonder why depression is such an epidemic in our society. What we need this year is a Revolution, not more misguided solutions.

A revolutionary way of seeing the world for it’s beauty, embracing one another for our shared humanity, turning our minds towards compassion rather than comparison…that is a change worth making. Every revolution in history has began with one lone individual. One person saying, if only to themselves, “I will not continue down that path.” Revolutions grow not because we convince others through threats or long speeches, but through our own personal actions.

Our brains are prewired to spotlight negative and fearful things. It’s one of our defense mechanisms that has helped us to survive, but it’s not our only instinct. We are also drawn toward beauty, love, empathy, and compassion, and we can choose which direction we want our thoughts to go.

The fear based world around us highlights our faults, tells us we must always be more, and ensures we never reach fulfillment and satisfaction. Campaigns designed to make you feel insufficient, gossip around the water cooler, judge others…all of these unnoticed moments that occur in your day are what pushes that feeling of “not enough” within yourself. Wonder why your confidence is low? Wish you could be a positive person? Dream of the day when you can just be settled? If so, you my friend need a revolution.

Imagine knowing you are, at this very moment, enough. Without loosing those 5 lbs, getting that promotion, buying that car, or hearing that validation…you alone are enough. You are not perfect, not by a long shot, but instead of that being a bad thing that you need to work on it’s the thing that makes you smile because that means you have room for growth. You’re life is, and will forever be, a work in progress. Stop trying to “arrive” and enjoy the journey you’re on. It’s a difficult concept, one that takes practice (there’s that word again) each and every day.

Here are some baby-steps that you can practice:

  • Look in the mirror for something (anything) you like about yourself
  • Walk away and do not participate in gossip (for the more advanced practitioner:speak out against gossip when you hear it around you)
  • Do not mentally (or especially verbally) make negative comments about those around you.
  • Stop judging or categorizing people you see. Even the slightest negative judgement has an enormous impact on you. We gain the majority of our self-
    consciousness from judging others because we unconsciously believe we too are being judged by the same measuring stick….big no-no for positive thinkers.
  • Seek out something you are enjoying right this minute, and do that as often as possible. What is interesting around you? What ideas are exciting? What sights are inspiring? What can you feel gratitude about in this moment?

Each of these ideas are small nudges in the direction of inner peace and positivity. By minimizing the negative or flawed moments and maximizing the positive and appreciated ones, we gain optimism. We can never be perfect at this endeavor, and I hope you won’t put that expectation upon yourselves. But rather, take notice and enjoy each positive moment and thought. Through that acknowledgement, you will find a growing sense of wonder and appreciation for your life and yourself…just the way you are.

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