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Welcome to 2016: the Year of Integration

The words we say to ourselves can oftentimes be much more damaging than the ones others say to us.

Ugh, we did I eat all of that? I’m so fat! I can’t believe I spent all that money. I’m so irresponsible. That fender bender was totally my fault. I’m so stupid.

Why do we hate ourselves so much? Why do we continue to put so much energy into disliking the things about ourselves that aren’t perfect?

And how do we rewrite the script?

First, let’s talk about why you’re doing this. We all have things that make us unhappy about ourselves; that’s normal. The problem comes in when we see so many ads showing us what our lives should look like. Images filled with beautiful people on fabulous vacations and luxury cars are what we should all want, right?

It’s not helpful to surrounded by friends and family with high expectations. You’re a lawyer, so you should be driving a certain type of car. You live in a specific neighborhood so you clearly can afford expensive handbags and shoes. Why are your kids in public school? Everyone else in your family sent their kids to private school. And let’s not get started on the expectations of how we should look (all while trying to be everything to everyone!).

It’s exhausting just to think about all of these outside forces and the role they play in the view we have of ourselves. These things cause us to take a look at our lives, judge them harshly, and then belittle ourselves for not having what we should have or being who we should be.

Enter the Year of Integration.

Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, who we aren’t, and who we wish we could be, why don’t we look at ourselves as human beings. We have jobs, families, worries, struggles, triumphs, pain and happiness. Does a few extra pounds make us less worthy? How about not working the job people think you should be working? Or, heaven forbid, getting swipe happy on your credit card and carrying a balance for a few months?

We all make mistakes; that doesn’t give us the right to look at ourselves in the mirror and say hateful, harmful things. That person looking back at you is trying her best to be a great parent, spouse, sibling, child, employee or employer and so many other roles.

So how about this: look at the things you don’t like about yourself as opportunities to improve yourself. Consistently pursing growth instead of focusing on what’s wrong is a way to both be the best you and to live your authentic life – and here’s bonus: doing it this way won’t make you go crazy!

And one last thing: stop berating yourself. It’s a new year, a clean slate. Your debt or love handles or whatever it is you are concerning yourself with only have power over your thoughts because you give them that. In this year of integration, fuse positive energy into every facet of your life.

Action step

The beauty of being human is how multi-faceted we all are. We have parts of who we are that we love and others we wish to improve. Don’t seek to change the things about yourself you don’t like; instead put as much energy into integrating them into your life as you would towards the things you enjoy about yourself.

The Year of Integration is all about self-acceptance and wholeness, not a complete overhaul. Where you see negativity in self-reflection, there’s opportunity to use it to your advantage. Take this time to grow and find harmony. In 2016, resolve to integrate your life.

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