I am one of those gals that just really f*cking tries. At everything. I try to do it all, learn it all, be it all, apply it all, let go of what I’m supposed to, hold on to what I’m supposed to – and honestly I’m not sure how well it’s working.
In all of my trying, in relationships, finances, career, family – I know that I have stressed and stretched myself out at least the circumference of the world and what do I have to show for it? I’m not sure. I am in a happy relationship, I have a good job, good friends, but what I’m realizing is I could and probably would still have those things without trying so damn hard at every little thing.
The New Year can always bring out some real “try hard” tendencies. So this New Year, I wanted to try so hard that I had four different (FOUR different) “processes” to work through for a year-end personal review. They were processes to “take stock” and “set intentions for 2019” to “weed the garden” and “write lists of what worked and what didn’t.” It was stressing me out for weeks, oh this one looks good – oh this one too! I’m sure I need to both, maybe four.
So these life-altering processes, they sat on my to-do list, they sat on the negative side of my brain letting waiting for me to do them, judging me on my laziness. I needed to try to do these things, so that I could “be a better person” and “live a more intentional life.” But really all of these “processes” that were sitting on my to-do list to make me a better person? They were stealing my ease, making me feel bad. The whole jig was working backwards.
I didn’t end up doing any of them. Very unlike me. I didn’t even do a few of them to kick off the New Year, I did zero. Something about this year wouldn’t let me set resolutions – it was like I would pick up my pen and my hand couldn’t write. So I listened to that.
I was in therapy the other week talking about this exact thing, and it occurred to me. Wow. I have been TRYING SO HARD my whole life at everything. Very little ease, lots of trying hard. And I came up with the one single resolution that was meant for me, that came out of the ashes of my trying-graveyards: 2019 will be the year I learn how to love myself.
What? Uh oh. These might be connected (of course they are connected). Trying so hard to be better, to do better, to learn more – it’s commendable and it’s also poison. Because of where it was coming from. My trying hard was coming from a place of not being good enough. If I just tried harder, if I just read this incredible book, did this awesome webinar, if I meditated everyday and journaled for at least 20 minutes and ran too and also called a friend everyday oh and worked on intimacy and oh make sure to check in on parents… etc. etc. ETCETERA.
It is possible to try so hard to be a better you that you actually miss the boat of being you altogether. I needed to learn how to love myself. Lucky for me, I’ve been trying hard at things my whole life, so I had a stubborn skillset I could utilize toward this goal. So here was my lightbulb moment: what if I actually tried hard to love myself?
I’ve always known that I kind of like myself, but I want to be a person who’s love for herself is unshakeable, unquestioned, non-negotiable, the thing that if everything went to shit I would still know how to love myself and practice loving myself fiercely. That’s what I want. I realize now that I’ve actually never tried it.
Seriously. In all of the trying I have done my whole life, I have never actively tried to love myself. Truth is I’m good at lots of things I try, so I think I have a shot here. I think you might have a shot too.
Self-blame, pity, hatred – those were easy, those were running records that were getting worn out. It’s weird how I never had to try to get good at those, I guess the world gifts you that.
So as a person who likes myself, who wants to deeply love myself in a way that doesn’t bend, I am vowing now to try. To love myself. I offer you the same resolution if you are feeling ready to change the proverbial record.
So repeat after me. Amy [state your name], I love you. I will try my hardest, to learn how to love you better, and then, love you best.