The holidays are all about being kind to one another. Being generous. Opening our hearts. Spreading love. Embracing one another and being patient. So why are we not like that with ourselves? Why is this beautiful season something that we can only extend to other folks?
More importantly: Who set up that standard?
Let’s face it, it doesn’t have to be a time when we are all those things to others. We’ve made it that way and that’s fine! But let’s drop the charade and let’s extend it to ourselves as well. This whole concept of who set up the standard and why loving yourself is seen as selfish is an article for another time.
Today though, let’s recognize that we need to love ourselves and we need to be kind to oursleves too during this holiday season.
For today’s article, we’re stepping away from all that self-care talk and talking about something different. Trying something not new but trying something again. What am I talking about? I’m talking about trying foods you used to eat a lot, trying foods you used to hate, getting back to running or yoga, getting back into healthy habits.
I’m saying that whatever you didn’t like, gave up, or lost track of you should pick back up.
You should try again.
There’s one important reason for it, we aren’t in the habit of it. We are not in the habit of failing at something and trying again. We are not in the habit of falling over and having to get back up. But we really should be.
Learning to try something again is a really beautiful thing. For starters, it’s going to keep your mind open in general. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a food I used to hate with a passion only to find that now I really enjoy it. We change. Our tastes change. But only if we let them. If we eat only mac and cheese our whole life you can bet money on the fact that we’ll hate anything else. So try that food again that you didn’t like. Even if you still hate it…that’s okay. The point is that you’re trying again.
Trying again also forces us to remember. This is especially true with exercise. Why did I give this up? I loved this. That forces us to look back and see how stress impacts our life. It also teaches us that we need to train our motivation and perseverance better. If we gave it up without a physical reason it means that our mental stamina wasn’t in place. Which means…you guessed it, we shouldn’t have quit.
Another thing, it keeps us accountable. I personally think that if you come into any activity with the idea that you will always pick it back up then you won’t ever put it down. It knocks out the “I can stop” mentality and changes it to “I can’t escape this”. While that sounds negative, what it does is keep you sticking to something.
But let’s look at the most positive reason.
It softens you.
What do I mean by that?
I mean just that, it softens you. We are very hard around the edges. We are rooted in our ways and in the thought that “My way works for me. My way is best” which means we aren’t open to other ways of life. We are also very stuck and solidified in lifestyles even if they are unhealthy so when the day comes that we want to change, we can’t. And, since we don’t try something we know again, we struggle to try something new. We struggle to change. We haven’t set up our brains to accept change, new outcomes from the same stimuli, and happiness. We have set our brains up to accept hard habits, the same old same old, and misery.
Now that’s depressing.
But it’s true.
Engaging in a healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally, starts in the brain. That’s all. We have choices that we might be unaware of. For instance, we are the ones wiring our brains. We are telling it what to do, how to react. We have control over that. And we can always change it.
Part of that is understanding that nothing is set in stone. And I mean nothing. Letting go of the idea that there are hard and fast rules does wonders on the softness and flexibility of the mind. It’s easy to do this by trying things we’ve tried before because it’s safe. We know exactly what something tasted like, even if we hated it, but we’re giving it a second chance knowing that taste.
Maybe we hated running but we’re going to try it again, this time with more research into shoes or form or anything. There are so many options but the point is, trying something again is safe. Much safer than trying something new and that safety helps us relax into understanding things change.
We aren’t the same person as five, ten, fifteen years ago. We can’t be, it’s impossible. We aren’t the same person we are today as we were yesterday. Or five minutes ago. We are constantly changing but we hold ourselves back from our highest level of potential by not allowing ourselves to accept changes in lifestyle, taste, habit, thoughts, etc.
That’s not fair to us. It’s not kind.
So, try something again. Don’t bother trying something new today or this week, try something again. Extend a hand out to yourself this holiday season and see if you can be a little nicer to yourself, a little more understanding. Don’t worry about forcing your mind open. Instead, engage in things like trying something again that will gently help ease your mind open.
Read books that you didn’t like. Eat something that you weren’t a fan of. Listen to music you thought was weird. Partake in an exercise you gave up. Try something again.
And don’t give up on yourself this time.