I always start off the New Year with the best of intentions. Because while it’s an arbitary date and all that, it still feels like a blank slate. Everything seems more possible, opportunities seem closer to reach and somehow I seem more capable of grabbing hold of them. So when I first starting thinking of writing this post, that’s where my head was. I wanted to write about things I want to achieve in 2018, maybe list a few goals and talk about how much more awesome I was going to be this year.
But the reality is this. It’s the second week of January, it’s a grey Sunday afternoon, and I’ve got that wretched cold and cough that is doing the rounds.
I thought about putting off writing this post until I’m in a better frame of mind but then I realised I don’t want to do that. I know we all self-edit varying degrees of our lives online, and I’m not going to sit here and say I’m the exception to that. But pretending that is everything is okay all the time is exhausting. It makes stressful times even worse, and who wants that? So in a bid to do something a little different this year, I present my ‘allowed’ list. As per the name, hese are four things I’m going to allow myself to do/feel/be this year (and every year). I also thought it would be a nice twist on all those lists this time of year about cutting stuff out. 😉
You can probably tell this post is going to be a long one, so I hope you’ve pulled up a chair. 🙂
I’m allowed to feel gloomy
I know this sounds pretty depressing on the surface, but hear me out. We’re constantly bombarded with messages that tell us we need to be happier, shinier people. From Instagram quotes to slogan tees, everybody needs us to be our best selves and our biggest cheerleaders. And don’t get me wrong – I am all for positivity and being a ray of sunshine. But sometimes – you just can’t. Sometimes life happens and you have a bad day. The last thing you want to do at that point is be an amazingly chipper person.
Writing from personal experience, I know I have found it doubly hard to recover from a bad mood or situation when I have someone telling me to cheer up. Cheering up doesn’t always work. Sometimes we need to wallow. Obviously doing this in excess is harmful and that is not what I’m advocating here. All I’m saying is that I want to allow myself to feel like crap every once in a while. Maybe I’ll eat more chocolate than I need to and watch Friends for the 100th time, but I’ll wait it out and feel better eventually. I don’t want to force myself to find a shortcut that doesn’t exist.
I’m allowed to say no
I have actually seen a lot of articles about this so I’d just like to add my two cents into the mix. In the past, I have struggled with saying no. Whether it was at university or at work, my ability to say yes to something has always been inextricably linked to my self-worth. What if people think I’m not capable of doing this? What if people think I’m lazy? What if people think I’m a loser?
You can see the common thread here. I’m so worried about what people are going to think, I make myself do something I don’t want or don’t have time for. And I’m betting that most of the time, they probably wouldn’t have thought those things anyway.
I want to allow myself to say no more often, and to say it without feeling guilty. This is going to take some time and I already know it isn’t going to happen straight away, but that’s okay.
I’m allowed to feel proud of myself
This is such a funny one. We find it so easy to be proud of our friends, partners, kids – but when it comes to feeling proud of ourselves, the self-doubt creeps in. And admitting we’re proud is a whole other story!
I’d like to think of myself as a modest person. If I achieve something and someone pays me a compliment, I try to be gracious and pretend that it wasn’t a big deal, even if it was. Because in my head there’s usually a part of me that’s thinking that maybe that’s true. I’m also worried about coming across as someone who’s full of herself, boastful or arrogant. And there I go, worrying more about others than I am about myself.
I want to consciously change this way of thinking this year. I want to be able to feel accomplished and excited about my achievements, and I want to feel proud without feeling like I’m being conceited. Because while the admiration that others show you feels great in the moment, solid self-worth is infinitely more powerful.
I’m allowed to mess up
This one’s a direct contrast to the last one. I think most of us are guilty of setting ourselves up to a very high standard. I know I am.
I always want to get everything right the first time. I need to always be the best at something right away. Rationally, I know that learning curves exist, but I always seem to approach everything thinking that they won’t apply to me. I’ve gotten better at this as time has gone on, but I think I still need to work on it some more. Mistakes happen, and I know this phrase is overused, but we are all only human. It’s normal to feel in the moment that everything is falling apart, but what I need to remind myself is that it only seems that way. It isn’t actually falling apart, and everything will still be fine.
I hope that you found this post useful in some small way. It’s just been one of those days, and I think I wrote this post in equal parts for me as much as I did for you, the reader. I hope that’s okay. 🙂
P.S. In case you were wondering, the pictures were taken in the grounds of Ambras Castle in Innsbruck.