the mythology of the happy new you

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Happy New Year everyone!

I have been gone from the blog for a long time.  Of course, after every vacation, I feel that I need a vacation.

During my time away from here, a lot of things have changed.  I took the decision to emphasize speaking as part of my service offerings this year, I found an apartment in a new town, I will be saying goodbye to the sweetest little cabin in the woods ever that my son and I made livable, I ate a lot of cheese, and I realized how very, very much I hate being sick.  I’ve had a cold that just won’t go away but the lack of sleep and the holiday festivities don’t help with that (nor did all that cheese!).

Last night, after downing a healthy dose of magnesium and sleepy herb tea, I had a great night’s sleep.  I woke up this morning knowing what I wanted to talk to you about: the happy new you crap that springs up around this time every year.

I have nothing against changes and the daily habitual movement towards more vibrant health, more rational and expansive thought, ever more profound respect of the bodies that we each are.  In fact, I’ve pretty much devoted my life to this.  HOWEVER, it is the underlying message of the new year/new you mantra that rubs me the very wrong way.

Reading between the lines of this is a very calculated way of getting you to feel a lot of discontent.  Resolve this year, finally, to just not be you anymore.  Because, “you” is not enough.  “You” is not good.  “You” is not flashy, sexy, skinny, stylish, productive, fit, valid enough.  “You” is quite simple, flawed.  Throw it out.  Get a new “You”.

Oh, trust me, I get the allure.  I had the flashing insight a couple years ago that my greatest addiction is “starting over”.  It’s very much part of the diet mentality.  Monday morning I will just START OVER.  By, Friday I was binging on everything in sight because Monday-Thursday I had set up impossible standards.  But, that golden promise of Monday morning, the shiny perfection that would be my life started then.  Amplify that expectation by a gajillion and you have the Happy New Year/Happy New You myth.

This will be the year that you have the whitest teeth, the sharpest collar bones, the perkiest butt, the best job, the cleanest house, the most romantic relationship and the most fulfilling friendships.  (My resolution was to always have the flattest stomach!  My body shape simply will never allow for that.  I have a broad ribcage and a high waist…literally will never have the flattest stomach!)  I just feel exhausted thinking about all that pressure we’ve just put on ourselves.

1.  There’s nothing wrong with you.  Nothing.  

2. Is having collar bones sharp enough to give paper cuts in the office really one of your cherished values?  Is it possible that it’s important to you because you have been brainwashed by the diet/fashion industry to even want them?

3. How do you really want to spend your time this year?  Depriving yourself of pleasure so you can feel that you are meeting a group of strangers sitting in a board room’s expectations or nourishing yourself into greater and greater freedom?

The difference between the new you myth and the nourishing freedom way of life is that in my way of thinking, you already are the source of your greatest wisdom.  Yep, that old, shabby you that’s knocking around your un-flashy life is the greatest treasure that you have.  Nor did you have to spend a dime for it.  The body that you may find less than: not thin enough, not strong enough, not…enough, has more to teach you than any upper level college course, more than pursuing your doctorate.  It KNOWS.

The secret to empowered change is to honor your body.  Listen to it.  Respect it.  Give it want it needs and what it wants.

It may take some time to accomplish this.  We live in a world that trains us to be deaf to ourselves.  It actively has a vested interest in insuring that you are completely cut off from everything that you really know in your bones to be true and replaces it all with mirages.  My job as a coach is to act as a facilitator, as a guide on the incredibly fascinating and enriching path back to yourself.  Yes, you will most likely change your appearance, you will most likely change how your clothes fit.  You will most definitely change how you feel.  You will change your health.  You will change the way you process things.  Most profoundly, you will change your perspective and all the external noise will no longer apply to you.  You will find an inexhaustible font of joy.  You will find the true source of wealth.  And, it’s right there, in the oldest you.

So…Happy Ancient You!

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2 responses »

  1. I appreciate this Jenny…. my new year resolution (that I only made because I was sitting around a table of people listing theirs off and I didn’t want to be the snooty ‘I’m too good for New Year
    resolutions’ girl) was more along the lines of continuing to try to be the best me… not to radically change the person I am. Good reminder post.

    • I can’t believe I didn’t reply to this! I apologize. This comment made my day when I read it in January and it makes my day now! Three cheers to understanding your specialness.

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