Did you see that? I almost started this post by bitch-slapping myself. Self-judgement, self-loathing, self-fulfilling masochism. Begone!
An article that I read on the Huffington Post a few days ago was intriguing - enough so that I still remember it: Why a New Year's Theme Works Better Than a Resolution says that specific goals don't work because they're too - well - specific. You want to lose a particular amount of fat tissue, and redistribute the remainder to fit into some arbitrary manufacturer's sizing schema. Or you want to make more time for .... something. Or you want to spend less time on .... something. You are choosing a result, not a path.
Instead, the author suggests, choose "a word that resonates with you and embodies something that has been missing... Keep your theme in mind and allow your days to unfold from there." Her examples of theme words include mindfulness and nourishment.
When I shared the article on Facebook, my family and friends loved the idea. My glorious and generous aunt said she'd need several words, or a sentence... One word isn't enough for me, either, so I shall give myself two, taking the sub-theme of generosity from my aunt.
My theme words for 2014 are hope and courage. Hope, Emily's "thing with feathers," reminds me to open my heart to the possibility of good outcomes - not an easy thing for a lifelong depressive. Courage clasps hands with the hopeful self, saying "take the step, begin here, have a little bit of faith that you can do this." These are huge and scary concepts to a survivor of childhood trauma, one whose energies have been aimed at finding a safe place, a nook, enough.
Remember: these are themes, not goals. If they have been missing, they can be added to the batter, even now. Even tomorrow.
Hope and courage to you, all who are reading this. Let's see where this goes. And here is Emily Dickinson to start the new year.
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.