Dear Lillith: Resolutions

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Lillith Grey has been lighting up the stage for over five years as a burlesque and fetish performer, musician, and emcee, and can frequently be found performing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She holds a master’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in education, and is currently completing her Ph.D. in psychology. She has worked as a psychotherapist, educator, and social justice advocate, and currently teaches at a local university while working on her research. She travels extensively, teaching classes and workshops on a variety of subjects including relationships, communication, trauma, body image, sexuality and gender, and diversity issues. Lillith is also active in the Leather community, serving on the NLA-International Writing Awards committee and as a co-chair for the Women’s International LeatherFest. Visit her at www.LillithGrey.com for more information.

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It’s that time of year again! The closing of another holiday season filled with sugar-crusted sweets, savory meats (or meat-like soy products), and long lazy nights leaves many people wondering what happened to their willpower. These days of ambitious promises and critical self-reflection may be the best time to seek a new understanding of who you are and how your life is going, but it’s all too easy for our thoughts to become mired in the negative, focused on what we don’t like about ourselves and how we wish we were different.

I absolutely hate hearing people complain about how much weight they gained over the holidays, particularly when it’s followed up by a “so my new year’s resolution is….” [insert some comment about dieting/exercising/surgically altering body]. One of the greatest joys of the season is that we allow ourselves to enjoy nostalgic treats, we drink a little more, eat a little more, laugh a little more, and imagine a little more… I don’t see that season as a loss of willpower, I see it as a willingness to set down the self-critique long enough to let a little fun in. And I don’t think it’s fair to look back and regret, or try to classify that experience in terms of failure. It was fun, wasn’t it? Stop trying to convince yourself to regret it!

But now it’s resolution season, so we look forward to who we think we want to be. All too often, though, our goal setting is based on the ways we feel we’ve failed, which is simply the wrong way to set a resolution. Not only do we often have skewed perceptions of ourselves and our bodies around this time of year, resolutions based on perceived failures are steeped in failure from the beginning! So, dear readers, please consider making this year’s resolutions from a place of growth, of excitement and anticipation… of hope!

Stop resolving to fix the wrong, start resolving to add more right! Take a look at your life – what feels good? What’s going well? What do you want more of? If you can’t find anything, resolve to create something! Ignore those pesky self-doubts and the voices in your head that constantly criticize you – those voices are liars, and they are fed regularly by media and other social influences. It’s up to you to feed the good voices, the right ones. Find them and nourish them.

A specialist in behavior modification will tell you that to sustain a resolution you have to establish some sort of positive reinforcement to go along with it. If you go to the gym every day, for example, you get to buy yourself a new shirt at the end of the month! Did you starve yourself like a good girl? A non-fat cookie for you! This cycle of self-denial and conditional approval does not make us feel better because it still includes the possibility of failure – a failure of the self. Fortunately, the beauty of the positive resolution is that there is no failure: just by making the resolution, you’ve already take a step forward. And reinforcement is already built in – as you increase goodness, more goodness will find you.

Once you’ve decided on your positive resolutions, surround yourself with them! Use bright markers and construction paper to write them out, or make a graphic that you can set as your computer wallpaper. Go for a walk and find beautiful stones that remind you of your resolutions and keep them on your dresser. Exchange lists with a friend and check in with them from time to time. Post it on Facebook and ask people to comment when they see you doing them. Put a note near your steering wheel, or make one of your resolutions your password for something you use regularly. Surround yourself with your intentions and they will become real.

Need some ideas? Here you go:

Resolve to give yourself credit when you do something awesome

Resolve to smile at a stranger every day

Resolve to express gratitude

Resolve to remember the good things about someone

Resolve to practice radical self-care

Resolve to send thank-you notes (or emails, or wall posts, or texts)

Resolve to increase play time

Resolve to touch yourself more often

Resolve to eat things that sustain your amazing body

Resolve to hand-write a letter occasionally

Resolve to tell people what they mean to you

Resolve to “like” more stuff on Facebook

Resolve to try something new

Resolve to have more sex

Resolve to only buy clothes that fit

Resolve to try something you’ve secretly wanted to do

Resolve to listen to your body

Resolve to teach someone something you know

Resolve to find a swing set at least once a month

Resolve to pay more attention

Resolve to round up when tipping

Resolve to make peace with someone

Resolve to practice patience

Resolve to only say positive things about people’s bodies

Resolve to grow a plant

Resolve to increase personal insight

Resolve to get more sleep

Resolve to point out good things about people in public

Resolve to practice radical acceptance

Resolve to nourish and care for your body

Resolve to increase humility

Resolve to move your body more (walk more, take the stairs)

Resolve to give tiny gifts

Resolve to tell every performer something nice after a show

Resolve to use the word “love” on a regular basis

Resolve to breathe deeper

Resolve to take yourself less seriously

Resolve to give second (or fifth) chances

Resolve to reconsider ideas

Resolve to connect more personally with a child

Resolve to drink more water

 

Got more ideas? Leave them in the comments below!

It has been my absolute delight to receive your letters, comments, questions, and good wishes over the past year, and I look forward to hearing more from you in the coming year. May your world be filled with an abundance of blessings, hope, light, and inspiration.

Warmly,

 

 

 

More from Lillith: Day Job vs. Burlesque, Shitt Burlesque, Putting a Peer on Blast, Boas, Pasties and Parenting, A Graceful Exit

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  1. I completely and utterly agree with you Lillith. I’ve been reading 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People and this quote stood out to me. “A new kind of New Year’s resolution is becoming increasingly popular. Instead of dwelling on something they think is wrong with them and resolving to improve, a lot of people are taking a different approach. They are resolving to accept themselves. To acknowledge that, faults and all, they are complete people, good people.” This last year I started realizing that I could combat the negative voices in my head and the overall result would give me more happiness in my life. It is a constant effort but I know I’m on the right path that will lead to a better, more fulfilling life. Also, staying positive about myself keeps me positive about others and the world around me. You are absolutely right when you say, “as you increase goodness, more goodness will find you.” =)