Self-care for Sensitive Souls
Reconnect with your inner resources
It's another new year, and with it comes the impulse to make promises to ourselves about a fresh start.
But just in case you were longing for something that doesn’t involve abdominal crunches or a losing a specific number of pounds from your perfectly lovely body, here’s my take on New Year resolutions …
Don’t make them.
The classic New Year resolution comes from ‘I’m not good enough’.
I’m too fat / lazy / insert insult to self here. (Typical resolution: I’m going to totally change, whatever it takes.)
I never get stuff done. (I will stop procrastinating, immediately of course. And get up at 5am every day to make it all happen.)
I’m on social media way too much. (From now on, 20 mins a day on Facebook, max. With a timer and everything.)
Most of us are already fully occupied with keeping our inner critic at bay. So why add insult to injury every New Year?
We all know what happens.
When we make promises to ourselves because we feel there’s something wrong with us, but we’re not actually ready to make the changes, we just prove to ourselves what we already suspected – that we have no willpower and we never follow through on what we say we’ll do.
The radical alternative
So this New Year, try dropping the habit of focusing on all the ways you’re not good enough and forcing yourself to change things.
Instead, wait until you know it’s time.
What if you could trust that when the time for change is ripe, you will recognise it and jump at the opportunity? What if trying to change before you’re ready just uses up precious energy for nothing? Like having your feet on the accelerator and the brake at the same time, you waste a lot of fuel getting absolutely nowhere.
Trust that when you’re really ready, it will be easy. You’ll never look back.
So how do we know when we’re ready?
It’s not difficult, but there’s a bit of groundwork to do first.
The deeper part of us that knows, let’s call it our heart, is easily drowned out by the constant whirring of self-criticism.
So the best way to hear the message of our heart is to adopt its gentle way of being. In other words, to radically love and accept every little flaw that makes us who we are, for better or for worse.
When you can truly accept yourself, all the bits you like and all the bits you don’t, it changes the atmosphere inside you. The battlefield falls silent and the flowers can grow. It makes space, opens up the possibility that something deeper can quietly emerge.
Then one day, you’ll feel a tipping point, and it will come when you least expect it. It won’t be a resolution or an unrealistic promise or a commitment to grim-faced discipline. It won’t stem from shame.
It will come from self-love, self-care, and from truly wanting things to change. It will come from within.
And when your heart, your true self takes over the wheel, it’s a much smoother ride to make the changes you want. It’s effortless.
Yes but I still want a resolution
If you feel slightly short-changed by this approach - as in, it won’t seem like New Year without some kind of resolution - you can uncover what your heart is really ready for, with this simple practice:
Give yourself time to sit quietly and go within for as long as you can manage, just following your breath moving through your body, and being open and receptive to what your heart wants for you. Not searching for it, not trying to force anything to happen. Just inviting, listening.
And then, over the next couple of days, let the answer bubble up from within.
You’ll know it when you hear it. It’ll be a deep knowing that feels good in your body, something that sounds like, ‘It’s time.’
Nothing in you speaks against it.
Then you’ll find you will follow through, because it’s something whose time has come, not something you feel pressured or shamed into doing.
So this New Year, try letting go of imposing New Year resolutions on yourself that come from feeling ‘not good enough’.
Instead, let them come from knowing, ‘I’m ready.’
If you feel you need support in practising self-acceptance and accessing the truth in your heart, and you’d like to be among like-minded people who meditate together, we’d love to have you join us. Read about classes, workshops and retreats here.