The last few years, instead of picking a resolution, I’ve tried to pick a word or phrase instead. Something to try to focus my year around. I haven’t done that great of a job with it if I’m honest, but each year is a fresh start so I’m trying again. After lots of thought over the holiday break, I’ve decided on “BE SARA” as my phrase for the year. I read Brené’s (she is just referred to by her first name in our house) The Gifts of Imperfection a few years ago now, and I skimmed it again in December. Her tiny phrase summary of the book is, “be you.” Last fall, Oprah did this big push to promote her Belief show, and lots of people got on board on Twitter with the #beliefin3words (fun hashtag worth checking out by the way). I came across Gretchen Rubin’s entry, which was “ALWAYS. BE. GRETCHEN.” I was in the midst of reading her book on habits, so I knew what she meant by that. Both of those ideas stuck with me throughout the fall because last year kicked my butt. I knew I had to make some changes to be healthier and more content in 2016, but I wasn’t sure what that looked like.
In the meantime, I started seeing a therapist last fall. I had read this post from Sarah Bessey, and it hit just a bit too close to home in terms of some unresolved hurts and habits in my life that I just haven’t dealt with. I wanted to be proactive in dealing with them and not end up in full on meltdown. Therapy has been super helpful, mostly because she gives me assignments of things to journal about and read on my own, so I’m really owning my breakthroughs and hang ups – or trying to anyway. I’ll be 35 this year, and I think, for the first time, despite believing it in my head and telling it to my friends for nearly my whole life, I’m understanding that I can’t give to anyone else what I don’t have for myself: love, understanding, compassion, empathy. I want to model more wholehearted living for my kids, but, more importantly, I just want to live more wholeheartedly for me. I listened to a recent interview with Elizabeth Gilbert, and she said something along the lines of, “Practice on yourself the great tender-heartedness that I know you want to show to the world. You live 24-hours a day with someone to practice on.” I can’t stop thinking about that and love the idea of practicing on myself to get better for others.
It’s surprisingly hard for me to write down and put on the internets that my phrase for the year is to “BE SARA” because it sounds so self-absorbed and self-serving, but I think I need a season (at least) to focus on who God really made me to be (and not to be), so that I can more fully embrace that for the next 35 years or so. What are your resolutions for 2016?
If you want to come along with me on this “be you” project as I’m calling it, here are some books and resources to get you started. These are just some of my recent favorites, so pick one or two spark your curiosity:
- Read all of Brené Brown’s books. Grant and I gifted ourselves her Living Brave semester for the new year (use code BRAVE2016 for twenty percent off before next week). I’ve also been working through her reading list here.
- I’m a podcast junkie lately because I can do it while I do something else. This actually has me looking forward to putting away laundry, for example, which is really saying something. Some favorites in terms of learning and growing* (add yours in the comments!):
- Check out the Personality Hacker podcasts to learn more about your personality type – the good and bad.
- I like some of The Lively Show, especially this episode with Elizabeth Gilbert, this one – I love her ten truths, and these two episodes (I’m kinda digging Brooke Casteel’s podcasts too that I found from The Lively Show, but I haven’t listened to enough to know for sure) on intuition.
- Speaking of Elizabeth Gilbert, watch this talk (right now! stop reading this, and go watch it!) on the danger of “following your passion,” and then listen to her Magic Lesson podcasts too.
- I love On Being with Krista Tippett and make myself listen to every episode, even if I think I won’t like it. I always learn something new and important. Some favorites even though it’s SO hard to pick, and I’m only remembering these because I’ve actually listened to them more than once, which is really saying something for me since I hate rewatching things I’ve already watched (the bane of Grant’s existence at Christmas time when he wants to watch ALL of the Christmas movies every year): with Mary Oliver, with Indigo Girls, and with Greg Boyle (please do read his wonderful book too).
- The Sorta Awesome podcast is maybe more of a guilty pleasure, but I’ve found out about so many other good things from it that I had to share. It’s more like listening in on a smart and diverse group of girlfriends than anything too instructional, but I think that’s the charm of it. Some favorite episodes so far: on Sabbath (sooo good), with Jerusalem Greer, 2015 recap show, and making Advent special (save this one for next November).
- On parenting, we’ve liked these videos (silly, but memorable), the Leading Edge Parenting podcasts (older, but still relevant), Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s books, and the Love and Logic books. One thing that has helped me with the whole parenting thing in general is the idea that the kids push my buttons in areas that I need to address personally (annoying how God puts difficult people or situations in our lives to help us grow). My triggers with the kids point to larger issues that I have, so that needs to be delved into more. This gives me extra incentive to deal with my own stuff, so that I can offer more compassion and empathy to the kids (and others too).
- On my to read list for the “be you” project: The Lies We Believe, working slowly through Savor with a friend, finally finish Essentialism (keep having to take it back to the library), Big Magic, more Pema Chodron, Being Mortal, and Let Your Life Speak.
What’s your resolution or phrase or intention for 2016? Have any book or podcast or video recommendations for my little project? I’d love to hear both in the comments!
*I have lots of other more fun favorites, but I’ll share those in a separate post!
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