The New You for the New Year
Another year has come to an end. If you are anything like me this time of year may cause you to begin to reflect on the ups and downs of the year. Many people may use this time of year to resolve to get more exercise, diet, make changes in their personal relationships, change jobs, or learn something new. All of these can be very useful and important in contributing to ones sense of accomplishment. These changes focus on the external self, but what about internal changes? Internal changes are not often as obvious as losing weight or changing your wardrobe. I believe internal change is just as important and consequential as the more obvious external ones. Let’s take a moment and examine some strategies for creating healthy internal changes. Let’s consider these in the context of self respect and self awareness.
Someone once said wherever you go, there you are. While this phrase may seem obvious in one respect, the deeper meaning is that no matter where you go, what you do, who you spend time with, you cannot escape your perception of self. As a therapist I have spoken with many individuals whose self perception was often incongruent with how others perceive them. Unfortunately, their self perception would often be more negative than positive. Cognitive Behavioral Theory identifies a close relationship to a person’s beliefs and their behavior. In essence, if you have a negative self perception you will behave in a manner that fulfills that belief about yourself. How can we become more self-aware?
- Be honest. Whatever is concealed cannot be healed. Being honest requires us to look deep into those places that we have tried to ignore for so long. With ever negative perception that springs up there is always a root cause. For example, maybe you have difficulty in your relationships with trust. This issue may have very little if anything to do with your present relationships. It may have more to do with a wound you received from someone you trusted and betrayed your trust earlier in life.
- Surround yourself with positive people. I tell my children all time, you become who you hang around. The people in your life should add to your life. They should encourage you to be the best you can be. They should speak life to you not words of negativity. Words are very powerful. We often internalize the words that others use towards us. This New Year be aware of who is speaking into your life. Make an effort to filter through the garbage and focus on the jewels.
- Congratulate yourself. Anyone who has lived long enough in this life is very aware that you may suffer setbacks from time to time. These setbacks can be perceived as defeats. I choose not to use the word defeat because that denotes a finality. Setbacks are just that, a pause in forward motion. Your setback can be an opportunity to reflect, redirect, and exercise resilience. Congratulating yourself means taking a moment to reflect on all you have accomplished. It allows you the opportunity to recount moments of resiliency and strength you’ve shown in the past. This type of reflection will help generate the strength to move forward.
Hoping you have a wonderful 2018 filled with self-discovery, love, laughter, and peace
Happy New Year!
Alicia Lurry MA, LPC, CRC