Wow. What a year. I think it's safe to say that the best thing about 2020 is that it's over. Coming out of that flaming train wreck of a year, the last thing we need is to start 2021 beating ourselves up for all how we fell short in the previous twelve months. If you think about it, the whole 'New Year, New You' thing is not only unrealistic; it's also quite brutal. I mean, I know it's a silly slogan, but the implication is that you need to entirely reinvent yourself, which is not going to happen and shouldn't have to happen. The new you catchphrase encourages the self-loathing that is all too common these days.
You are perfect as you are, and you could also use a little improvement
This new year I'm going for the opposite of self-loathing. I know self-love can be extremely cheesy or, if improperly understood, can lead to self-obsession or passivity; however, I'm going to avoid these pitfalls. My attitude was nicely summed up by a Zen teacher who told his students: You are perfect as you are, and you could also use a little improvement.
I tried to create healthy habits over the past year, and science suggests that shame is not the best way to do it. I'm looking for a cleaner-burning fuel for developing self-love, self-compassion, and acceptance. This approach may seem counterintuitive, but unlike shame and self-recrimination, meditation practices provide a renewable resource for taking action and developing the resilience that's so critical when it comes to making a sustained, healthy change.
To all of you: Happy New Year!