Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ditch the New Year's Resolutions this Year: There is a Better Alternative

Recently a friend shared the idea that our personal flaws can be compared to an elephant in the room: difficult not to see and even harder to get past… I concur. Most of us have a clear awareness of the elephant standing in the room of our hearts. We know what our faults are and they are unlikely to be eradicated simply by making a few New Year’s resolutions.  What is the alternative then?  I have a few musings on this first day of the year on such a subject.

Perception is important. All of my close friends have large elephants of varying breeds living in the rooms of their hearts. In other words, those closest to me have obvious faults. But here is an interesting twist.  In the case of those near and dear to me, I get past the presence of such elephants quickly.  As time goes on, I don’t even notice the elephant.  I choose to accept them where they are in life. And I don’t think anything about it.  It has been my experience that such unconditional acceptance in many cases prompts meaningful change in the lives of those we love.

Acceptance is important. Why is it that we can’t get past the elephants in our own lives?  I choose not to dwell on my friend’s faults. Why can’t I step around the elephants in my own life then?  The truth is: I am willing to accept my friends as they are, but far less inclined to do the same for myself. A lack of personal acceptance is therefore equivalent to a lack of meaningful change and growth.

Transformation is important.  My thinking needs to be totally transformed. A friend shared this quote from Ellen Goodman: Take a tour of the rooms with fresh eyes... "Maybe this year… walk through the rooms of our lives not looking for flaws, but potential."  In the past, when I would take such tours all that I saw were varying breeds of gigantic elephants that were leaving a trail of stinky elephant waste in the rooms of my life.  This year will be different. I am going to take the same tour, but choose to extend the same grace I eagerly give to others to myself. In other words, this year, I will not look for flaws, but for potential…I wonder what the consequences will be? Time shall tell. But that is the alternative I choose to New Year’s Resolutions this year. 

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