A few months ago, I went to a conference where we participated in an exercise in which we wrote down “that thing” that we don’t like about ourselves on a name tag. We then had to wear that name tag for the rest of the day. The purpose of this exercise was two-fold: in addition to having this thing have less power just by “wearing” it, we also got to see what others wrote, to see that we’re not alone. When the presenter was explaining the exercise, he said that as we read other people’s name tags, we would see that we share some of the same negative thoughts about ourselves. I didn’t think that my name tag would match anyone else’s but I was so wrong. To my surprise, half of the people at my table had the exact same name tag as me. And do you know how good that felt? It was like a weight was lifted off of me. “That thing” that we wrote on our name tags-not good enough.
We all have insecurities. Oftentimes, our belief that those insecurities are true and that something bad will happen if others find out interferes with us doing the things that are truly important to us. Have you ever decided not to take a class or not apply for that job because you didn’t think you could do it? Have you ever avoided a social situation due to fears of what others might think of you? There have been many times, including this month, that I procrastinated sending out this newsletter because I didn’t think what I wrote was good enough.
As we enter the third full week of the new year, I wonder how many of you made new year’s resolutions focused on changing that thing that you don’t like about yourself. What if we changed the way we made our resolutions? What if we focused on accepting ourselves for who we are? Letting go of the judgmental thoughts, being ourselves in front of others without feeling like we need to put on an act, just being. How freeing that would feel!
This year, instead of making a New Year’s resolution to change something you don’t like about yourself, consider making a resolution to accept yourself for who you are, imperfections and all. Do something that you’ve avoided due to “that thing” getting in the way and enjoy it! Happy New Year!