I am going to put it out there honestly: I am very bad at New Year Resolutions. I used to make them, numerous kick ass habits to form or actions to take, starting excitedly each January, but now I pretty much don’t bother. I just wrote that sentence and thought how unenthusiastic that makes me sound, old judgements die hard huh?
These days my priorities have shifted away from making New Year Resolutions because piece by piece I have been chipping away to dismantle the conditioning that I must be constantly, actively improving myself. Please do not get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with tending yourself to feel better, whatever better may mean for you. What I am stepping away from is the societal conditioning that assumes that a person must be dissatisfied with themselves and therefore needs to do a whole list of stuff to improve. After a couple of decades of unenjoyably striving to be a better version of myself, I know that what I do not need is another list of stuff to do all underpinned by the creeping fear that if I did not accomplish the shiny new resolutions, much less stick to them. F**k that for a game of self-improvement soldiers!
Life does not teach us that we are enough just as we are. It ends up being down to the individual to step on to their own healing path to recover from the wound of believing they are not enough. Having been in groups with women to share about how we feel about ourselves, nobody has had the experience of feeling that should we want to dabble with a bit of self-improvement, it is not because we grew up with the messaging that we are enough, meaning that any change starts from that place of feeling good to begin with. Nope, generally women feel they need to implement changes in order to shapeshift into somebody who is enough: attractive enough, clever enough, sexy enough, compassionate enough, goal oriented enough, Super Woman enough. What if the choice to make shifts or commit to goals was inspired from the place of believing we are already enough?
January can be flipping tough. I have struggled with this new- year -new- start thing for as long as I can remember. I am sure this is because of bombardment across all types of media that January should be a month of gung ho energy when we whip off the pyjamas we have been sporting for most of the Christmas break, and bust out on to the scene kicking our kitten heels like dancers in a flash mob singing : Lalalalalalalaaaaaaaa! I’m ready for you January! Hit me with the new routines and spangly regimes! It is A LOT. Plus, I hate the word regime, it has too much despotic connotation which is certainly not what we need more of in this ever unfolding “new normal”.
Life Does Not Teach Us That We Are Enough.
Some people love January with it’s proclamations of It’s Your Year, Your Best Year Yet! I admire the positivity so long as it does not turn into toxic positivity, a bind in which we might be dissuaded from feeling authentic and natural feelings such as doubt, anxiety and worry. It you are a jazzy January person who already has their goals list pinned up on the fridge, vision board all glitzed up, then please crack on, enjoy and know I am cheerleading you from the side lines. I salute you.
I feel that New Year Resolutions play into the endemic false belief that we are, at best, not OK as we are or at worst, fundamentally flawed and must compensate for it. It is false that need to do more, achieve more and get more to reach the mythical world of being enough. I hate to break it to you, but this world does not exist outside of you, it is a place that we must tenderly, patiently seed and cultivate inside ourselves. That is where Enough lives. Like a lot of women I have a long history of trying to hard. Why? The answer lies woven into the system of Patriarchy. Patriarchy favours men so as a result, leaves women either consciously or unconsciously playing catch up to measure up to the unattainable, unsustainable standards that are expected of women. Patriarchy will never encourage women to plant our seeds of enoughness, neither will it encourage men to re-examine the expectations that this system has also placed on them. So, f**k it then, let’s make our own standards which side step The System. Maybe we can begin from the place of believing we are enough?
What is wonderful about January is that it marks the start of a new cycle where we can begin again. The natural world has been moving toward the light since Winter Solstice, moving toward the warmer months taking in a another turn of the wheel of the year. Arguably, women have the opportunity to begin again every month as we move through our menstrual and moon cycles. This time around, January feels like a time to wait, to listen for our next moves and intentions to bubble up. For me, it feels calming to stay in my burrow, safe in the knowing that light is coming and that I am growing, whether or not I am purposefully doing anything about this growth. My plans, ideas and actions for the next cycle are still cooking in my heart and hara. What I want to brew for 2022 is still in its formless state, not yet quite tangible. January is the caldron. In the quiet, dark spaces we can listen to what it is we really want rather than feel societally or culturally pressured to jump on it straight away. Of course, if you authentically feel ready to dive in head first to 2022 right now, again, I salute you. I am just saying its OK to not feel ready to go 12 rounds with 2022 quite yet!
In The Quiet, Dark Spaces We Can Listen For What We Want.
If you are creating intentions for the next however long, I invite you to ask yourself what would be a Nourishing Yourself Revolution? Maybe this is a more gently empowering way to ponder what you want to feel this year outside of the framework of the New Year Resolution.
What do you want to let go of that no longer serves you?
What can you release to create space for the next cycle?
What would feeling truly enough look like for you this year?
This year I intend to believe in my enoughness. I intend to moon bathe, plant flowers and hold space for my books to come out.
Wishing you a gentle start to 2022. I’m cheerleading for you because you are always enough.
*My first book Shadow & Rose: a soulful guide for women recovering from rape and sexual violence is out in paperback this year. Here is the link to purchase the Ebook version. My next book Enough! Healing From Patriarchy’s Curse of Too Much and Not Enough is also out later this year.