A New Resolution

People have been asking me over the past week what my new year’s resolutions are. Up until this point, I have been in survival mode. I wasn’t thinking about the year… I was simply trying to get through the day. But today, the dust seems to have finally settled, and I discovered the one thing that I really want to do this year.

I simply want to be myself.

I spent so much of last year being sick, either physically or mentally, that I just couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. I couldn’t talk to people. I couldn’t exercise or play sports. I couldn’t smile. I couldn’t do little random acts of kindness. I couldn’t help around the house. I did some of these things anyway, but it took everything out of me.

This year, I want to enjoy being me. I want to go running just because I feel like it. And I want to talk to new people at church. I want to bake a cake and make cookies and get dinner ready, just for fun, just because I can. And I want to wash dishes and do extra laundry loads and vacuum. (Oh how I want to vacuum!) I just want to be able to do all the things my illnesses prevented me from doing.

You don’t really realize how precious those things are until you lose them. Having depression made me miss exercise so much. Breaking my thumb made me miss simply being able to tie my own shoes. Having anxiety and depression made me miss just being able to have a normal conversation with someone. And my health issues and depression made me miss being able to maintain a clean house.

So, though it may not seem like much to an outsider, I am excited to be able to do the normal stuff this year. And my resolution is simply to enjoy doing it because I have waited so long for this moment.

A New Year

It’s a relief that 2016 has ended. It hasn’t been the worst year for me. In many ways, it was one of the best years. But it was also one of the hardest years. I suffered a lot, but I gained a lot of reassurance and realized how strong I can be.

Still, this new year, my resolution is simply to do hard things. Life can be hard, and right now, dealing with insurance and appointments and changing jobs is hard. I don’t know what 2017 will bring, but I know I’m committed to pressing on.

This past year was so draining. I feel like I don’t have much left to give anymore. But… It’s a new year. It’s a chance for new beginnings. It’s an opportunity to let go of any hurt or disappointments or negative feelings. So, whatever I have left in me is what I will give. I will give my all. I will do the hard things. I will be who I want to be. And most importantly, no matter what happens, I won’t give up.

Resolution

I don’t tend to put much meaning into milestones. My birthday is an arbitrary date that just happens to mark when I can say I am older. Likewise, New Year’s day is an arbitrary date that marks the beginning of a new calendar. In all reality, it is a social construct to keep everyone in sync with each other. This is evidenced by leap year. We have to readjust our time keeping to coincide with the time keeping of the Earth.

I know this is all pretty much irrelevant because everything is basically a mental construct of reality and is defined by what we believe. However, my point is that I don’t feel any greater need to determine my resolutions near January 1st than any other time of year. In fact, I think you are more likely to accomplish your goals if you start long before January 1st.

For instance, goals to exercise or eat healthier are generally reserved for after the holidays because people feel it will be easier with less temptations. However, there will always be temptations. By waiting until after the holidays, you are essentially telling yourself that you cannot resist temptations and therefore should not attempt to change habits that are likely to remain the same. Resolution shares the same root word as resolute and resolve. If you really have a resolve to change, why would you wait until New Year’s day to make that change?

Resolution also has the word solution in it. If you are deciding to implement a solution, wouldn’t you want to start right away? Why wait to fix your life or your marriage or your work responsibilities? If you have a solution to a real problem, why would you not want to do it right away?

So this year, I am making one, and only one, resolution. That resolution is to not wait until next year to make changes in my life. If I see something that needs to be changed or fixed or improved, I’m going to start right away. I am going to be resolute and determined in my resolve to be better and to find and implement solutions in my life. I am going to not just make goals and resolutions, but do them.

Hating Myself

I never really realized or thought about how much I hate myself until this last week. In fact, up until I started this project of changing how I see myself, I thought I loved myself for the most part. I thought it was just depression or bad days that brought thoughts of dislike.

So I asked myself, “why do you hate yourself? What about you is so wrong that you would want to kill yourself to get rid of it?” And I discovered a couple answers.

One, I don’t think about myself as a person. I think about myself in terms of deeds. So, when I look at my deeds overall, I feel like I’m a pretty good person. When I look at my individual deeds though, I can either feel amazing or completely horrible, which explains why I think of suicide so much. You wouldn’t want to kill someone you love, but in those moments where I mess up or I am misunderstood or I am not proud of how I acted, I hate myself.

Two, I feel like I can never give myself what I really want. I will never be enough for me. Because I have autism, I cannot communicate in a way sufficient to adequately express myself. I simply cannot talk to people and make friends in the way I have convinced myself that I should be able to do. I have gotten better, but it is not enough and will never be enough for the ideal I have had in my head of how I should be.

Three, I do not forgive my mistakes. I forget about them sometimes, but I do not forgive them. When I say something that could be taken in the wrong way, I replay in my mind the times when someone misunderstood my innocent communication to mean something that I did not intend. I have convinced myself that these offenses were my fault even though it was a misunderstanding. And when I do something completely normal, like say hello to a friend or send a text asking how someone is doing, I convince myself that it is wrong and that I am wrong and that I should not burden someone with my presence.

That is why it is so hard to believe the good things people say about me. How could they be true with this depth of self hate that I feel? How could anyone think positive thoughts towards me when in the very act of doing something good, I am insulting myself for my incompetence? How could I be thoughtful or kind or considerate when I told myself not to do that act of kindness or service because I was not worthy to perform such a deed?

It is not going to be easy to change this dialogue with myself. It is not going to be easy to convince myself to see past the images of worthlessness that I have established in my mind. It is not going to be easy to allow myself to be human. But… I am going to try.

I am going to try because someone else sees the good in me. I am going to try because people love me and want to see me happy. I am going to try because life is too short to hate yourself. I am going to try for me because it’s about time that I feel loved.

Resolutions/ Gift to God

I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions because I don’t think you should wait for a particular date to make positive changes in your life. I do, however, like the idea of giving a gift to Christ when we celebrate his birth.

Last year, I gave the gift of prayer. Christ has always been my best friend from the time I was a child, he was the only one I could turn to in the darkness and loneliness. I realized though that I had neglected to really talk to God like I used to. I still prayed. I just didn’t really communicate with him. Throughout this year I focused on rebuilding that relationship, on getting to know my Father again, and allowing Him to be a part of my life. I have gone through amazing changes this year and hardly recognize who I used to be.

I wanted to do that again this year, give a gift to Christ and then focus on it all next year. However, as I asked for feedback on what I could give, the feedback I received indicated that I may be focusing on the wrong things. It is good to want to be better, but maybe the gift I need to give this year is to myself. Maybe this year I need to learn to love myself. It’s still a gift to God because I know he wants me to be happy and love myself, but maybe it’s also about time that I do something for me.

The truth is that I really don’t like myself. I look in the mirror and think, “how could anyone ever love you? You will never be enough. You could never be beautiful.” No wonder I want to die so much… The only good thing I ever say to myself is “you do good things.” And I repeat it over and over because it’s the only compliment I can actually believe.

Maybe this year I will give the gift of changing that- changing how I talk to and about myself. In all honesty, it will be hard to give up hating myself. I don’t enjoy hating myself, but I don’t see any reason to love myself and coming up with reasons seems like a daunting task. Is it possible to love someone you hate? I have already proven that is possible this year, I just have to prove it to myself this time.

Day 1

Sometimes you just need to restart.

This weekend I went to a camp with my church. One of the speakers there talked about how much your health affects everything else. So I have decided I need to start over. I am doing good things in my life, but I am struggling with my own physical, mental, and emotional health. But maybe there’s something I can do to help myself be better.

Today is day 1. I’m not going to worry about the past feelings of depression or frustration or pain or anything else. I’m going to be a new person.

 

Just to keep me accountable to someone on this newness of life, I’m going to post my goals on here.

Here’s what I am going to do starting today:

  1. Go to bed at 9 pm
  2. Drink at least 2 bottles of water per day
  3. Eat 1 extra fruit/ vegetable 3 times per day
  4. Run from 5:30-6 pm
  5. Take a multivitamin

Easter

Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I love the chocolate bunnies. I love spending time with my family. And most of all, I love celebrating the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

This year I decided to make Easter baskets for my family. Mostly it was because I’m single and I have the time and money to do so, but also because I just love making people happy. I love watching someone’s face as they discover something exciting. And Easter baskets are just exciting.

My family used to hide the Easter baskets on Sunday morning. When we woke up we’d have to find them under our bed or behind the tv or between couch cushions. Easter was always exciting for me. And I always hoped to get a chocolate bunny. I’m not exactly sure why, but my favorite chocolate is chocolate bunnies- the solid milk chocolate kind.  I think it has to do with the texture. No matter what brand of chocolate it is, it tastes better as a bunny shape.

Anyway, because Easter and springtime in general is a time for new beginnings, I’ve decided to use this time to set some resolutions. I’ve never engaged very much in setting New Year’s resolutions because I just feel like I shouldn’t have to wait until a new year to start making changes. If I want to make changes in my life, I want to start today not 8 months from now.

But I’ve decided to make some Easter resolutions because I want to be better. And even though I try to be better every day, I think connecting it to Easter will give me greater hope in trying to accomplish my goals. Because in the end, it’s not really me that pulls me to a new level of being. I am just a person, but “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”