As is the case every year, we’re seeing throngs of marketing pitches touting a new year and a new you. These companies want us to believe our happiness hinges on tiny waistlines, huge bottom lines, sexy story lines, and disappearing laugh lines. They’re capitalizing on our insecurities, but guess what; none of those things will bring you true happiness.
When we experience unhappiness or discontent in our lives, it’s because we’re not living in alignment with who we truly are–that is to say who our soul truly is. Working day in and day out to achieve those supposed prerequisites to happiness clouds what makes us truly happy and perpetuates the myth that we need to earn our happiness.
So I’m touting a new campaign. I don’t want you to be a new you. There is nothing wrong with you, and you don’t need replacing. What I do want is for you to be the true you! I want to see you live in alignment with your soul self and discover happiness beyond what you can find in a pay check or on a treadmill. The best part is that when you rediscover the true you, you will begin to realize the blessings of a healthy body, a bountiful checkbook balance, and so much more. Here are a few simple steps to discovering your true soul self:
1. Simplify your life by unpacking all those unfinished projects and unrealized goals. Whether it’s a craft project in the back of your closet or last year’s long-since-abandoned resolutions, let them go! Forgive yourself for not seeing it through as intended, then get it out of your physical and mental space. This baggage will only perpetuate the myth that you are a failure or are unable to see things through to completion … and it is only a myth.
2. Love yourself. Every time you catch your reflection in the mirror, say I love you. It’s okay if it feels awkward at first; just keep doing it. While you’re at it, check any limiting self-talk and self-perceptions you may have. Don’t allow anything but loving and encouraging thoughts and words to be uttered. If you keep telling yourself you’re fat or unworthy of love, for example, that’s exactly what you’re going to think you are … and that’s a myth too.
3. Play. That’s right. Play. Do all the things that could potentially bring you joy. If it’s swinging on a swing at the park, do it even if you’re 78-years old surrounded by curious toddlers. If it’s volunteering at a local food bank, do it even if you don’t think you have the time. If it’s cooking a four-course meal, do it even if you’re the only one who will ever enjoy it. Start with the first thing that comes to mind. If you need a little help with ideas, complete these sentences:
If I wasn’t afraid of failure, I would _______.
If I had more time I would _______.
If I wasn’t afraid of what others thought of me, I would _______.
4. Step outside your comfort zone. This can be a scary one, so I recommend you start out small and work your way up. Park in a different isle at the grocery store … heck, go to a different grocery store. Go to a restaurant you’ve never been to and order something you’ve never tried. Once you try these things and realize they aren’t as dangerous as once perceived, keep building until you take even bigger so-called risks. This will help you to find more things that will bring you joy. After all, if you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.
5. Each time an opportunity or thought enters your orbit, check it to see if it feeds your true soul self. If not, consider letting it pass you by. For example, will indulging on a giant piece of double-chocolate cake bring you closer to your soul self? If so, go for it. If not, perhaps you will be better served to politely decline. Use the same consideration for job opportunities, social invitations, leisure activities, and so on. Go ahead and gorge yourself on healthy, soul-satisfying morsels, but don’t fill up on junk that perpetuates the myth of imperfection and dissatisfaction.
My wish for you for the new year and beyond is that you discover how wonderful and perfect you truly are and that you are showered with blessings, love, and joy.