As this new year begins, one thing I’d like to suggest you gift yourself is a stronger sense of you.
In our culture, we tend to live our lives in a very functional way. We prioritize what needs to get done, and what is happening outside of us, over what happens within us. Sometimes, when we’re anxious about money, we check our bank accounts far more frequently than we check our feelings. Other times, when we’re anxious about a relationship, we check our cell phones far more often than checking in with ourselves. Instead of turning within to care for ourselves, we are often quick to search for an external cure.
And while I’m supportive of us finding external cures to our problems, we often neglect what lies within in the process, neglecting ourselves and our feelings. We learn about how to fix things by changing the world around us, and forget how to fix things by changing the world inside of us.
Over time, we lose contact with ourselves. Over time, we start to worry that if we slow down, if we pause, we’ll feel lonely, and have to face a loneliness in our lives. But as we work through our fears, we can instead realize that when we slow down, what we really find is not loneliness, but ourselves. We find our sadness and joy, anger and our celebration, our anxiety and our excitement.
And the more we live in touch with this part of ourselves, the more we truly become free. Free to live a life that is consistent with sharing all of who we are with ourselves and with one another. Free to live our lives, not the lives we’ve fallen into.
And I think this might very well be the best New Year’s gift of all.