Each New Year comes with fresh new chapters of our lives; new hopes of better things to come. I no longer bother with New Year’s resolutions that are so lengthy and sometimes impossible to meet. For a higher probability of success, I tend to just focus on two or three things that are relevant to me.
Knowing that everything starts with ourselves, we ask the first question: how can we love and accept ourselves more, given our strengths, weaknesses and quirkiness? Secondly, how can we improve our relationship with others of diverse temperaments, personalities and dispositions and thus live more peaceful and harmonious lives?
Respecting, accepting and loving ourselves rank high on my list. It’s not a narcissistic or self-centric kind of love but more of a self-love, self-care and self-respect kind of love. There are reasons why we must be aware of the need to love and accept ourselves as we are. For some, they may have grown up with parents and other adults who subconsciously kept magnifying their weaknesses, called them derogatory names or negative labels. These may have had a negative effect on their self-image and self-esteem. For others, comparing themselves with celebrities or other famous personalities and consequently finding themselves wanting by comparison damages their already low self-confidence. Yet to be able to accept, care for and love ourselves is the first step towards loving others fully. We might want to accept ourselves with our light and dark sides, with our strengths and character flaws. Nobody is perfect and neither are we. And the sooner we are okay with this idea, the better for us.
This self-love and self-care is also related to loving others whether in a romantic way or in a more platonic way. Sometimes in relationships, we lose ourselves while loving the other person, giving in to all his/her likes and dislikes until our own sense of self is lost in the other’s world. But we need to retain our own sense of self, our own interests and world view to be able to sustain a more vibrant, giving and mature relationship.
Then there’s also the matter of harmoniously living with some characters who are hard to get along with. They’re either always angry, bitter, or just love to sow intrigues. We just have to accept that there are those who are easy to get along with and others who would need a tremendous, almost-heroic effort to adjust to and who are in the end, more of a liability than an asset to keep as friends. In this case, the best course of action is just to let go and move on. We cannot please everyone, try as we might. The key is to relate with those who have similar values and world views with us. The more we accept this reality, the more peace and joy we have in our hearts as we face the New Year.