“Be willing to look at your own life and want more for yourself without beating yourself up or making it about another self-improvement plan.” -Jennifer Lounden
Jennifer Louden’s recent post about Freedom from Self-Improvement seems completely apposite right now, in the run-up to Christmas, when we are all feeling the ‘we’re not worthys’ very badly.
Everyone else seems to have a nicer house, prettier, more stylish decorations, tastier cocktail treats, better fashion sense, better-behaved kids. My own melt-down usually comes with present-wrapping. Everyone these days makes present wrapping into an art form. Me, I struggle to fold neat corners in my artfully chosen, blends-with-the-bauble-colour-scheme wrapping paper, never mind the hand-cut decorative snowflakes and layers of gauzy ribbon that some people cook up!
Christmas is a bunch of big red emotional triggers for me anyway. So right now, I am choosing how I want to feel, and doing only those things that make me feel the way I want.
Sounds too good to be true? Too many SHOULDS on your plate to even think its possible?
Remember, you always, always have a choice.
In the last post, I was talking about Intentions as an alternative to goals. There is a process to setting intentions, and it starts with this:
How do you want to feel?
I found this exercise in Danielle LaPorte’s excellent book, The Firestarter Sessions. It is another book I heartily recommend, and if you want to know how to do it properly, I suggest you grab a copy and check out the worksheet on page 73.
Take some time with your journal. Write about the feelings that give you a sense of wholeness, enoughness, satisfaction, happiness. How do you want to feel about yourself? How do you want others to see you? What qualities do you admire in yourself and others?
Come up with between three and five words that describe how you want to feel/be in your life.
Take your time over this. Make a long list, if you like, and sit with it for a while, weeks if necessary. Then hone it, edit it, pick and choose until you come up with a series of words that describe heart of who you are. How do you want to feel in the future? What symphony do you want to start in your heart?
Key to this part of the process is NOT BEATING YOURSELF UP.
Choose words that resonate with you. Not what other people would like you to be, or what you think you OUGHT to feel. You are shaping your life, your coming year. What feelings do you want to feel?
This is not about self improvement. It is about self-actualisation. It is about being fully and deeply yourself. And by being fully yourself, you can let your innate creativity loose. You can choose your creative direction and flow with it.
For more on this, check out Danielle LaPorte’s website.
In the next post, I will be talking about your word for the New Year