A Different Kind of New Year’s Resolution

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Usually at this time of year I am knee deep in New Year’s resolutions. Get organized. Lose weight. Save money. Learn something new. But this year I just feel differently.

You see, over the holidays I had a little ah-ha moment.

I was having a conversation with someone I had just met when I found myself saying something that was a distortion of the truth. It was an awkward little lie that I didn’t even notice I was telling. It just came to me in that moment and so I said it.

Later, after the noise and busyness of the day had died down, I began to think about that conversation and I felt sick to my stomach.

Why had I lied? Why? The more I thought about it, the more I recognized that my deepest hidden motivation was to look just a little better than I actually was. (The same reason I Photoshopped whiter teeth onto my Facebook profile pic.) Maybe if I was just a little bit better, I would be more impressive, more interesting, more worthy of friendship and love.

I was disgusted with myself. “Will I ever get over making stupid mistakes?” I wondered. I worked myself into a bit of self-loathing frenzy. There couldn’t be a person on Earth as thoroughly flawed as me.

In the midst of this torrent of emotion, I confided in my husband who is the most honest guy I know. I felt that he should have been horrified at me. He wasn’t. His words were kind and full of truth.

He said something along the lines of “lying is bad, it’s wrong, and requires repentance. But just because you made a mistake does not make you a bad person.” And then he connected the dots for me that outlined my real problem. It was the underlying factor to both my awkward little lie and the subsequent self-loathing. “It’s all because you are so hard on yourself,” he said. “You are nice to everyone else. But not to yourself.”

I knew this was true about me, but I didn’t know why–and I’ve been thinking about it A LOT.

Somewhere deep inside me is a struggle to believe in my own worthiness. And I don’t think I am alone. I think it is more or less a universal human problem. I worry that I am not good enough, that people would think less of me if they knew everything about me, that love and belonging must be earned. And, oh, how I want to be loved and to belong.

Because I struggle to believe in my worthiness, I set lofty goals and accomplish grandiose things. I work to be a better person every single day–all to prove something.

And it’s not all bad. I am here on Earth to learn and to grow, and that definitely takes effort. In fact, I’ve been commanded to do my very best. Stretching and striving are admirable, but worthiness does NOT depend upon them. I am already good enough to be loved and to belong. Right now. Today.

God loves me. And I belong to Him.

He is my unconditionally loving and affectionate father. He knew I could not be perfect and that is why He provided the Atonement of Jesus Christ so that I could access enabling power and forgiveness.

My Heavenly Father has been pretty clear about how He expects His precious children to be treated–with kindness, love, tenderness, forgiveness. He gave us the Golden Rule as a measure for our interaction with each other and even said that He receives the things we do for each other as though we were doing them directly for Him. Could this possibly apply to how I treat myself? Ah-ha!

If God cares as much about how I treat myself as He does about how I treat others, then some things in my life definitely need to change!

So this year I’m throwing traditional New Year’s resolutions out the window. In reality I will probably get less organized, gain weight and spend even more money than I did last year. After all, I’ve got eight kids in four schools and running in a dozen different directions. That’s a lot for a person to manage.

While I probably won’t overcome my weaknesses in 2016, I hope to accomplish something more significant. I hope to become a kinder person … to Me.

I’m going to listen carefully to my inner voice and do things that feel, although not necessarily easy, comfortable and right.

I’m going to be honest with myself about who I am and what I can realistically do. And I’m going to ask for God’s help every hour of the day.

I’m going to be my own cheerleader and resist the temptation to compare myself to others.

I’m going to relax and allow myself to enjoy the little things, even when they aren’t Pinterest perfect.

I’m going to own the entirety of my story–even the unflattering and unglamorous chapters– recognizing that my vulnerabilities remind me to seek for the one thing I really need, a relationship with God.

Yes. This year I am going to stop trying to prove that I am worth the space I take up on this Earth and just BELIEVE IT!

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Comments

  1. Mary says

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    You are one of my favorite people on the planet. I love your articles….you reach much farther than you’ll know.

  2. Melissa says

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    This was beautifully written, thanks for sharing Shawna Morrissey. And just so you know, I have always thought you were pretty amazing and doing the whole raising a large family way better than me. :)

  3. Keisha says

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    This has been the main theme to my Counceling sessions for the last five years. It is also something you progress in, with work, but never perfect, so be gentle with yourself. You are amazing, worthy, and loved not despite your flaws but because of them! Happy new year my friend and thank you for sharing your talents and insights through writing!

  4. Bridget says

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    Thank you. Beautiful and true. A friend once said to me: “Bridget, if you could just see yourself through the eyes of others who are equally flawed, you would be humbled by what you saw.” It really made me think about me. And, personally, Shawna, I’ve always been in awe of what a glorious individual you are. Truly.

  5. Jennifer says

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    Perfectly said! I think you just publicly admitted with so many of us think personally and quietly in our own minds. I adore you! Flaws and all 😉 😉

  6. Becci says

    That was beautifully written. Thanks for sharing. I have always admired you and especially for your cheerfulness. I have chosen a somewhat similar resolution. I am questioning my underlying motives for doing things, such as why do I clean the kitchen? So people won’t get made at me? So someone won’t complain? So I won’t be embarrassed if anyone comes over?

    • Shawna Morrissey says

      Oops, or do I clean it to creative a home of order so the Spirit can reside more fully in my home? Do I clean out of resentment or self hatred or out of love for my Heavenly Father and myself? Doesn’t mean I will always get it accomplished or even done well, but what was is done I can try to get done with love and the Spirit.

  7. Heather says

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    I so admire your courage… such an example… You are a fabulous mother… And those kids are very blessed to have you!

  8. Janet says

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    I agree with, Mike; you are too hard on yourself!!! We all are though. Wonderful words of wisdom for all of us. This isn’t the first time I have said this. You have a way with words. You should be an author. You would make the world a lot brighter and help us all become better people!!!

  9. Cami says

    I loved (and related to) every part of this! Thanks for sharing your feelings in such an honest way! Transparent are my favorite kind of people, it makes you relatable.

  10. Tracy says

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    I love that I found this because my daughter shared it. You both are so much wonderful! I pray for your success with your goal this year because I believe everyone should love themselves and know that they are a child of God. I love you Shawna.

  11. Amber says

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    You have such a way with words! And just to help you believe a little more, I know that you are a very kind person and that you beam happiness wherever you go. Even when the clock in your head tells you its bedtime at 7 pm :) lol. I really look up to you in so many ways. I’ve always thought that to be a truly beautiful person, you have to have confidence in yourself. And a huge part of that is being honest with yourself and BELIEVING your worth. You have hit the nail on the head for so many women in this world. Thanks for sharing! Love ya!

  12. Carolyn says

    Thank you for the many times u have uplifted me I’m starting a recovery process and for many months felt undeserving of Heavenly Fathers love and sacrifice. This an especially good timed read for me.

  13. Melody says

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    Such insight and because of your reflection we all gain from your insight. I love you dearly.

  14. Julie says

    I’ve been meaning to blog about so many of these ideas, only in a frivolous, less impactful way. Excellent thoughts. I just read this quote and will copy and paste.

    To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.

    It’s clear that that’s not news to you.

  15. Julie says

    I forgot the rest. And it’s pretty good.

    “It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”

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