As we look ahead to a new year, most of us will try to find that perfect magical New Year’s resolution that will make us feel… well…BETTER. If you’re making New Year’s resolutions, deep down you might think that it probably won’t last, but for a split second when you think about what that resolution should be, there will be hope that you can become a better version of yourself this year than you were last year. Right? And maybe you’ll be similar to the other millions of people fantasizing about looking better… fitting in better … fitting into your jeans better… and being seen by others as simply better (than before).
What if I told you that your well-intentioned New Year’s resolution will likely be motivated by the same need that I discussed in last month’s blog … your desire to believe that you’re lovable. That’s right, all roads seem to lead back to that one basic need.
We all need to know and believe that we’re lovable. Then doesn’t it seem more beneficial to focus your energy on ways to create positive changes on the inside rather than superficial changes on the outside? Imagine for a moment the confidence you could feel from simply learning how to feel closer to the people in your life. There’s an art to being open-hearted.
Lean in, and I will share the key to becoming a better version of yourself—it’s both hard and simple:
Honestly. That’s it. Stop being judgmental of yourself (and others) and you’ll get to know a better YOU.
Think about it this way, if you replace the thoughts of me vs. you with “us,” your beliefs about how you measure up will immediately change. Why? Because it eliminates competition and creates tolerance and connection.
Here are some tips on ways to give the people in your life (including yourself) total freedom to be proud of the messy struggle it takes all of us to find our unique selves (which makes us a lot more lovable to others):
- Try to assume the best in others. Life is complicated and messy and most of us are trying to figure it out at our own pace. If you’re making an assumption about someone, try to assume something good rather than something bad.
Hint: This takes practice.
- Remember that if it’s not your story, you probably shouldn’t be the one to tell it (or judge it).
Hint: Respect others by honoring their right to tell their own story.
- Find the power in “Me too!” We all share the experiences of joy, hurt, rejection and love. Learn to find comfort in our shared human emotions. Although you don’t need to say “me, too!” just take time to feel it before trying to help your friend.
Hint: Empathy feels more powerful than judging.
- Learn to ACCEPT being YOU! Remember that often our tendency to judge is about our own fears that we don’t measure up.
Hint: Finding faults in others won’t make you feel more lovable.
- When we become judgmental, it can interfere with our ability to truly enjoy other people. Mother Teresa once said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Hint: When we pay attention, we can learn huge lessons from being curious about how each of us is different. Different doesn’t equal wrong.
Challenge yourself to set and keep this compassionate goal:
STOP JUDGING! Practice the art of becoming nonjudgmental by finding the positives in at least one person every day (including yourself!).
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Plato