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Resolutions cannot be punishments

Illus. for TH

Illus. for TH  

Why you don’t have to let broken promises to yourself bother you unduly this New Year

The New Year has traditionally been the time to take new resolutions. But all the enthusiasm and excitement do not last beyond a few weeks. As the days pass, we regret having taken the resolutions and find many logical reasons why a certain resolution is not practical. We blame ourselves for having to go through the trauma of feeling guilty.

Not adhering to a resolution, which would have helped us do better in life (of course, that is what resolutions are all about), besides regrets, guilty feelings and self-pity, have a double impact on our lives. We are depriving ourselves of something good in our life, and on top of it we feel guilty that we cannot stick to our own resolutions. No resolutions is, therefore, definitely better than breaking them after we take them.

The rationale

How can we stick to resolutions? Rephrasing it, why should we stick to them?

Resolutions can stay only if we love ourselves. Love ourselves because god created us as perfect specimens. Whatever reasons we have now for not being able to love ourselves, we ourselves created them over our life-time. Look for the perfections that we see in us. Thank the creator for the blessings we have received with absolutely no effort or contribution from our side. List down the good things we know about our character, our physical wellness. There are multitudes of people around us who are suffering much more than us. Begin the year with heartfelt gratitude for the blessings we have taken for granted all these years. This love for our own self, this feeling of gratitude, will help us realise our own worth. This will help us realise the responsibility we have been given — the responsibility of taking care of our body, our mind, our soul, our family, our relations, our finances and so on. Resolutions, hence, will be more of responsible behaviour, and we will feel better being able to meet them day after day, week after week. They become second nature, just because we love ourselves and cannot be irresponsible after receiving all the blessings in our life without ever asking for it!

What is the feeling we experience when we think about any resolution we have taken in the past? Is it something similar to the feeling we have when someone punishes us? Is it similar to being asked to do something that we don’t want to, and feel being forced into? Well, identifying the reason for your resolution, which is the love for yourself or your loved ones, will help us change this feeling. Love is capable of expelling all the negative feelings, and lifting us into a higher realm. Resolutions have to be associated with a feeling of love.

Imagine that we have taken a resolution of yoga practice, or daily physical exercise. What happens if we break the routine for a day or a week? Getting back into the routine is often the hardest part, harder than beginning the first time. We then get into the negative feeling of guilt and self-blame. Instead, just pat ourselves on the back and appreciate our dedication and commitment over the last few days or weeks. Accept that it is okay not being able to do what you actually wanted to do. You can always get back to your routine, just because you have love in you. It is just a matter of time, and you’ll be back on it. There is no need for self-pity or guilt. Revisit the ‘reasons’ for your resolution again and again if you find psychological blocks within you. You deserve all the good things in life; nothing can stop you from who you want to be; no one else can decide for you. You are your own boss.

jibs.george@gmail.com

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 1:33:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/Resolutions-cannot-be-punishments/article17047232.ece

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