|Putting on the attitude. Photo taken by my lovely friend Kate.|
Nearly half the first month of 2012 is over, and I recognize very little of my regular self in my daily habits. I no longer reach for the ever-present bag of bite-size candy bars in my boss's office. I drink more water than diet pop. I spend my time prioritizing the gym over any other social activity. I actually want to run and run well. I am of a vastly different mindset than I was last year when I thought I was in love. You could say these changes in my life are due to the high hopes of a new year, but you would be (mostly) wrong.
It is true that 2011 was rough on me. With the loss of a job, the stress of finding a new one, and the end of a relationship, the passing of 2011 does not pain me at all. It took me months to assess myself following these blows (or opportunities for new experiences), and I know I am not finished with "Project Me" yet. Not by a long shot.
A pivotal moment on this journey came several months ago. I was driving from my parents' house to my apartment one night feeling rather peeved about a situation in which I found myself. I realized that I work harder at pleasing the men in my life than I work at pleasing myself. It is not that I am afraid to be single. I am single far more often than not, and I think there is a real benefit to knowing yourself without the influence of a partner. When I am with someone, however, I want it to be the truest best kind of love. I work hard to make relationships last, and I put up with behavior I do not deserve for far longer than I should.
My response to this epiphany has been to act with unapologetic selfishness when it comes to relationships. Yes, I am still compassionate, but now I am allowing myself to turn that compassion toward my desires. I demand more me only time, more time to develop positive habits, the permission to say "NO" without feeling bad or ungrateful... I even give myself license to envision giant successes earned all on my own.
What about you? What changes have you made that have improved your life? I would love to hear your stories of self-improvment, and I can always use good tips! I have a looooooooong way to go.