I made just one New Year’s resolution for 2024. I resolved that this will be the year I finally accept myself as I am. I figure it’s about time. Plus I’m hoping it will make some other resolutions unnecessary.
I went to my usual source for guidance, wisdom and time-wasting drivel—the internet—and found several articles about self-acceptance. You may find what I learned helpful. But remember, if it were easy, we’d all have done it by now.
All the articles had some variation of the advice to let go of the things we can’t change. Or at least the things we can’t change without major surgery. I added that part because for me letting go of the things I can’t change means accepting that I’ll never have a flat stomach.
Letting go sounds effortless, like blowing dandelion seeds into your neighbor’s yard. But it’s not easy. Just when I think I’ve let go of my flat abs dream I see a Peloton commercial or a 21-year-old in a midriff top. Then I lie right down and do 50 bicycle crunches. Or at least I lie down and think about it.
One of the articles I read said that if we’re to accept ourselves we must come to terms with our limitations. That’s not easy either. I’ve been trying to accept my seasonal allergies for years. And my inability to say no to chocolate. And the fact that I can’t stay up past 10 o’clock if I want anyone to like me the next day. Apparently other people have limitations too.
Maybe the hardest part of self-acceptance is practicing self-compassion. Being kind to yourself means resting, eating right and exercising. I do those last two pretty well, at least for a short time after I see a Peloton commercial.
But it also means speaking as kindly to yourself as you do to your friends and that’s harder. None of my friends would stick around if I said to them what I’ve already said to myself today: A first grader could fold clothes better than you do. And when was the last time you dusted? 1980? And you lazy slug! If you put off finishing your column any longer, you’ll have to call it “How to Be Your Own Best Friend in 2025.”
And speaking of friends, the experts say we should avoid people who criticize or in other ways make it harder to accept ourselves. From now on I intend to avoid 21-year-old women wearing midriff tops.
On a positive note, experts encourage us to acknowledge our abilities. Here goes. I’m so good at putting in eyedrops that I can even do it in the dark. I can read while I walk on a treadmill or ride in a moving vehicle. A lot of people can’t do that—especially when they’re driving. Kidding! I don’t do that.
By the way, I can also sleep in a moving car. Some people can’t do that either. I’ve never tried sleeping on a treadmill.
I’m able to locate my husband’s glasses, cellphone, and keys and whatever else he misplaces. Someday I hope I can do the same with mine.
And I can sneeze loud enough for the neighbors down the street to hear. Not everyone can do that. But then, not everyone wants to.
Experts also say we should embrace what makes us unique. I think the way I fold clothes is unique. So is the way I sneeze. So are my abs.
And finally, in order to accept ourselves we should celebrate our accomplishments. I can think of a few. My dishwasher is running right now which means I finally got it loaded. And I remembered to get the garbage out in time for pick-up this week. I forgot last week and my garage smelled like a landfill. And if you’re reading this, I finished it in time for 2024.
Dorothy Rosby is an author and humor columnist whose work appears regularly in publications in the West and Midwest. You can subscribe to her blog at www.dorothyrosby.com.