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Welcome to 2016!  It feels so crazy to think that it was only a year ago that I posted my resolution to have less stuff.  I never had a new year’s resolution before, and while i can’t say that I lived it 100% all year (I have a wee bit of a shopping problem), I can say that I tried.  I’ve become much better at walking away from purchases to think things through.  I’ve also started asking myself critical questions about how important purchases are.  The best part is that I’ve set an example for my impulse-purchasing children that they can and should be thoughtful and deliberate in their purchases.  Just yesterday, my daughter pre-planned her birthday trip to Build-a-Bear and purchased no accessories for her new stuffed friend, so she could stretch her birthday gift card into another trip.  A year ago, that wouldn’t have happened.

Resolutions don’t have to be all or nothing.  Just like all the experts say not to diet and instead have a “lifestyle change”, I feel resolutions are the same way.

In reflecting on my life the last few months, I’ve found another opportunity for change.  I am plagued constantly with self-doubt in everything I do.  I never feel satisfied that I’m a good mother or a good wife or even a good neighbor.  There’s always something I feel is left undone and always a feeling that I’m being harshly judged, when clearly the only one hard on me is…well, me.

Over Christmas break, I had the opportunity to hurt a couple of people’s feelings and somehow, this time, things clicked.  I began by feeling guilty for what I had done, by how obviously hurt a couple of people were over very tiny things.  I began to dissect what I could have done differently and I realized that the only thing I could have done differently was to go along with something that was completely wrong.  It occurred to me that the responses that induced guilt in me actually had nothing to do with me!  These responses were more about the people giving them than they were about me.

I began to think about the lifetime of mistakes and guilt that I’ve piled on and found a pattern:  I blame myself for things that have nothing to do with me.  When someone feel’s disappointed, I take it on as my fault.  When someone feels angry, I take it on as my fault.  When something isn’t absolutely perfect, I take it on as my fault.  But when someone is happy or someone wins, or something is above expectation, I don’t take that on for myself.  I’ve spent 34 years tipping the scale against myself.

A few months back, I wrote a guest post for Day2Day Joys where I talked about the pervasive fear that kept me from writing.  I had all but abandoned my own blog because every time I thought about coming here, I worried that I’d write something that wasn’t interesting or wasn’t inspiring or wasn’t better than what I’d written before.  I set myself for failure before I even began.

So with that, I’ve decided that 2016’s resolution is to be more authentic.  I’m not going to fear people not liking what I write because I can’t write for everyone.  Nobody can.  I’m not going to feel guilty when someone is hurt or angry when I know that I’ve done what I can.  I’m going to take the credit when things I do go right.  These are the things I always tell my children, but like last year’s resolution, I never modeled for them.

2016 is the year of Authenticity.  It's time to live more authentically.

It’s time to deal with the uncomfortable things too:  I need to mend bridges.  There can be no excuses for why I didn’t reach out to one friend or another over the years.  I need to come clean and tell them that I recognize my errors and see where those chips fall.  And when I’m wrong about something, I can’t hide from that either.  Without feeling like a failure, I need to own my mistakes and apologize.  I also need to drop the pretenses.  When I need to ask someone for something, I need to be direct and not butter them up and pretend I’m calling about something else.  And when I can’t find a table for 3 at the Starbucks, I need to not worry about how the woman sitting alone at a big table would feel if I nicely asked her to trade.  I’m not going to live my life worrying about what people (especially strangers) will think.

So that’s it.  That’s me, putting it all out here, in writing, committed to being more….me.

Do you have a resolution for this year and if so, what inspired you for it?  I’d love to know where all my readers are on this.


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2 thoughts on “Authenticity

  1. Jean says:

    What a great word! I think we all love people who are authentic. I imagine your word will take you to great places this year. My word this year is celebrate. I just want to try and focus on happiness and enjoying the days. The inspiration came out of a rather sad 2015 which was wrought with losses for some close friends and family members.

    1. Christine says:

      I’m so sorry about your losses, Jean. I pray that 2016 gives you great reasons to celebrate!

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