On the behalf of the Spiritual-Alignment team, I would like to wish all our friends a very happy new year! We hope 2016 is the year of your spiritual awakening and the universe fills your lives with abundance, peace and vitality.
It is that time of the year again. We are culturally conditioned to see the beginning of the year as a time for us to make changes in order to improve ourselves. A research study revealed that 45% of Americans usually make New Year's Resolutions. However, only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution. In this specific study, weight loss, exercise, smoking, money management and relationships were the top resolution themes. I’m not sure about you, but I personally found these statistics shocking. Apparently there’s something about New Year resolutions that cause them to be unsuccessful. Below is my take on it.
I believe that the underlying reason why most people form resolutions is due to the unacceptance of their current state. As human beings, we are very hard on ourselves and have high expectations. We hold ourselves to the high living standards. These expectations are accumulated over the years through a variety of conditionings and influences. A lot of times, this unacceptance generates emotions of internal sadness, guilt, shame and amplifies fears. Unfortunately, if we come from the place of non self-acceptance, our resolutions will keep reminding us of that lack and generate even more intense negative emotions. This lack is simply defined as the absence of something in our current state in comparison to the expectations we are holding on to. Instead of feeling joyful about losing weight, waking up earlier or going to the gym, it feels like a chore. We feel we should do all these things, but the underlying feeling is coming from a place of “I don’t have this in my life and now I need to get it” attitude. On top of that there is pressure that we put on ourselves in being perfect and the negative feelings around it cause more angst.
The greater our level of non-acceptance is and the deeper the blind desire to be perfect is, the more we end up resenting ourselves and failing the resolutions. Not only do we not appreciate ourselves to begin with, now we also judge ourselves for failing the resolutions. Unfortunately, this cycle continues and it takes a big mind shift to break it.
Similar to most women, I had body issues for as long as I could remember. I am a petite person, but there was always this feeling of something not being perfect. I didn’t like my pictures taken or seeing myself in the mirror as I would be critical of anything I saw. Most women’s bodies go through many changes throughout their lives. In the inevitable aging process our appearance, physical nature and functioning change several times for reasons beyond our control. My obsession for perfection became so bad that I used to be irritated at my husband for taking bad pictures of me. Those pictures were not ugly and neither is my husband a bad photographer. However, because of my thoughts, all my mind could perceive was imperfection. In the past, I even contemplated getting cosmetic surgery done on myself. Fortunately, I eventually talked myself out of it. It wasn’t until few months ago one of my doctors jokingly said that my body looks perfectly fine for a mom in her 30’s. That’s when it hit me, I was wrong all along in judging myself based on completely unrealistic expectations. Her validation was exactly what I needed to hear at that time. In that moment, I was so humbled that tears began to flow down my eyes, washing away all the resistances that I had in accepting my physical body. Now, I feel very much at ease with myself and constantly see myself as a beautiful being. This increased my level of confidence and self love. Thankfully now all the validation I ever need to feel good exists within me. No surgeries or alterations required!
In my opinion, the right reason for pursuing resolutions is from a place of expanding joy rather than decreasing imperfection. This might seem like I’m saying the same thing, but as soon as we shift the focus from the lack of something in our lives to our joyful desires, our judgments melt away. All the stress of imposing expectations and disappointing ourselves is unnecessary. It only creates more resistances in our desired path of alignment. Whereas, when we put joyful desires out there, the universe listens. By focusing on positive thoughts, it is much easier for us to attract positive experiences into our life.
I often wondered why majority of people struggle to work out regularly despite making several resolutions year after year. Whereas many other people love running so much that they can’t pause even on holidays and during personal vacations. Then, I realized, most folks work out because they want to lose weight or put on muscle to look attractive. If this is the case, then the underlying belief that they hold might be that they are currently not attractive. When they come from an inherit place of lack, the motivation is never strong enough to hold on its own. It’s a zero sum game, there’s no amount of time spent in the gym that can fill the void of feeling unattractive. Now contrast this belief with some runners. They like running because it feels joyful to them. Some want to accomplish their goals of running in a race and finishing up in a certain timeframe, but the underlying reason is not lack. The real motivation is joy and accomplishment. When joy is involved, things naturally come with ease and grace.
My resolution, which I decided upon way before new years, is to follow my joy. My husband joined me in this process and we have promised ourselves to use our internal compass of joyfulness to guide our actions. For example, in deciding how to best spend our time, we ask ourselves and each other whether the activity in question feels joyful to us. These days, we are also finding greater comfort in stillness. Earlier, joyful experiences included keeping the mind busy and entertained by undertaking a variety of activities: traveling, movies, adventure sports etc. In contrast to the present, we are able to experience the state of joyfulness and contentment in our being. This really means that we are able to disengage from the mind. It doesn’t matter what happens on the outside since there is deep joy internally. Even the simple and mundane activities of everyday life unlock the state of joyfulness, which is a blessing in itself.
As Abraham-Hicks says, the feeling of joy is our indicator whether we are living life in alignment with the source within us. In the state of joy, we are on the path of least internal resistances. Simply by reaching for the best feeling thoughts in each moment, we experience true bliss. In the state of bliss, our energetic vibration is high and it attracts the more joyful experiences that we seek in our lives. You see how truly magical reality is created simply by consciously choosing joy! In essence, we must choose to feel good first, rather than try to substitute that good feeling with something outside of us.
If you must create a resolution for 2016, I highly recommend working on accepting yourself and your current reality, knowing that you have the power to change it. It will take reminding everyday that you are a beautiful being who is accomplished, intelligent and wise. There is constant oversupply of love within your heart for yourself and for people around you. As long as you focus on your relationship with the divine within you, which is naturally loving, accepting and non-judging, it doesn’t matter what happens on the outside. When this relationship is established, nobody’s words or actions have enough power to disturb your internal peace. When things don’t go according to the plan or expectations, it is perfectly okay as the current situation is carved out by the divine being for your optimal growth. Simply accept whatever comes your way as best as you can.
Once you have the acceptance piece down, the next step is to follow your joy. In an earlier blog post, Daily Practices for Joyful Living we listed some ways to expand joy and to make it a part of your everyday living.
Image source: http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com/files/2015/12/21/635862561772833046-629206038_Twinkle-lights-for-New-Years-Eve.jpg