Reject What Does Not Serve You: Reflecting on EMBRACE

Like most of us, I cheered extra hard and kissed extra long when the clock struck midnight this year, ushering in the excitement and promise of 2017. Dismissing the hot mess that was 2016 — especially the final quarter of it — provided my soul the equivalent of a long shower, brushed teeth, fresh underwear, and clean hair.

Granted, I felt same way at the beginning of 2016. And when 2015 was novel. I still consider 2014 one of the worst years of my life but I do recall being so grateful for it’s arrival after a brutal 2013.

I guess what I’m saying is despite all the ‘New Year, New You’ promises and the memes thanking our lucky stars for a bright start with the rollover… y’all, we’ll just be saying the exact same things at this time next December.

2017 will be just as DEPLETING as 2016 — if we let it.

This plays a part in why people nay-say New Year’s Resolutions, methinks.

Because it’s nice to envision ourselves on the other side, having realized all our potential and relaxing in mental satisfaction with more money, less body fat, and overall tranquility.

Remember when I said I love New Years Resolutions? This is because I select mine deliberately and go full-scale nerdy and do my best to make them SMART. I set mini-goals in twelve aspects of my life to make the application of these promises realistic.

So… how does this micro-rant fit into my weekly application of EMBRACE?

There’s a lot about this week which did not naturally elicit a “Yes, Let’s” attitude.

My boyfriend left town and I already fiercely miss his warmth in my bed and his arms around my waist. When he walked out the door, the emptiness of the air around me felt suffocating. I still don’t have many friends in Alabama, none that I hang out with after work, and I likely won’t have physical contact with another human being for at least a month until his return. You forget how important touch is until you no longer receive it.

New circumstances at work which I’ve been dreading awaiting for two months has finally arrived and my concerns regarding the changes are beginning to be realized. I love my job and I love the way things have been; this change is one that I flat-out JUST DID NOT WANT TO HAPPEN. The transition hasn’t been smooth and some of the hiccups we experienced reflected poorly on relationships with colleagues I worked hard to establish. Messages I had been very deliberate about crafting were not communicated properly. Time was wasted on events that should have been applied to other projects. Overall, I left the office each day thinking (and occasionally saying aloud) fuck this.

And then I caught a cold.

And as it always does, along with stress and sadness and sickness, out come my old demons. Ones that are as much a part of me as my congenital heart defect. Quiet voices which whisper cruel things about my body, my hair, my skin, my success. In the back of my mind I hone in on the rolls of my stomach and stretch of my pants against my thighs. Every glance in the mirror pinpoints to a large pimple between my eyebrows. And I begin to think (and occasionally say aloud) fuck this, too.

I begin to wonder if I can actually remain content with the multitude of things which need to be adjusted but don’t seem to budge. And the things that I want to remain as they are but are moving too quickly to catch them. Why is it that life seldom does exactly what we want it to do?

It’s at these times, when the inner voices are chattering and my stubbornness is digging in its heels that I say to myself:

Chill, Lindsey.
Breathe, Lindsey.
Appreciate the stupid mess that is life (like you said you would).

It takes significant effort to actively adjust one’s attitude. But each time the pessimism has popped up, I have reframed:

Those work issues? They’re giving me an opportunity to prove my worth, develop my strengths, and build new skills.

Missing my man? Our time apart has served us very well so far and in the future, we’ll look back nostalgically at this time as being essential in our growth.

My stuffed nose and scratchy throat? I give myself permission for unlimited hot toddy’s and realize it can jump start the direction for next week’s VOW.

The key to embracing is realizing that it’s all a work in progress.

The only way any of us become the 2.0 versions we envision ourselves and our lives to be at the end of the year is to put it into practice.

Simply because it is the new year doesn’t mean that I’m going to lose weight (or stop feeling weird about the extra pounds I’ve recently put on). But it also doesn’t mean that I need to continue to feel ashamed of my body either. Embracing includes following body positive accounts on social media or taking morning walks accompanied with tea and podcasts (and when I’m lucky, my fella). My sole physical “resolution” for 2017 is to clock 20 days on my paddleboard which benefits not only my physique but my mental well-being as well.

What’s the saying in 12 Step programs? About accepting the things we cannot change  and doing the work to adapt what we can? The courage is not only in knowing the difference between the two but rejecting the things in life which are no longer constructive.

That’s what embracing is to me (and how it showed up this week). By saying this is the way things are, here is the stuff I have control over, and that there is the shit that I just need to let go. It may have been an it is what it is kind of week; but even that means I was successful.

So when 2018 comes and I’m none the richer, thinner, or whatever-er, I will find myself improved. And (hopefully) I won’t focus on all the things that that are lacking since I’ve had 365+ opportunities to deprogram that way of thinking.

Lin’s VOW mantra: Embrace the mess that is life. It is what it is.

Lin’s Song of the Week: Mad World by Gary Jules

Be sure to read up on Steph’s post about #VOWbuild

Join us next week as Steph and I join forces for our first shared Verb of the Week, #SETTLE

Share in the comments what your #OneWord2017 is and how you applied it this week.

Have your own blog? Let us know and we’ll link to you!

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