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Y’all! Did you hear? It’s 2019!
Today is the first day of the rest of your life, and there is no time like the present to consider your place within the wider fabric of society – and make moves where you think necessary.
Here are three considerations for the new year that I find especially compelling. Interestingly, these considerations can apply to many aspects of social life, from casual interpersonal interactions to intimate moments with your partner. Be it trying something new to considering another’s standpoint, take a moment to reflect on where you want 2019 to take you.
Put the “New” in the New Year
1. Try something new. (Note: It doesn’t have to be something “wild.”)
New years resolutions are often about stopping something, or at least reining something in. Another frequent new years resolution theme though is trying something. Try something new, get out of your comfort zone, push your boundaries!
This is all well and good, but here’s the thing: Trying something new doesn’t have to be something “wild.” Skydiving not your thing? Don’t force yourself to do it. Trying out that sewing class you’ve secretly been fiending for is just as “new” as skydiving – heck, one day you might even be able to sew your own parachute. (Just kidding!)
We often hear this, especially when it comes to sex – that “pushing your boundaries” and getting out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow. That idea, however well it may work for some, can also be limiting in the sense that it puts strictures on what constitutes growth and exploration. Growth and exploration, including sexual growth and exploration, doesn’t have to be “extreme” or boundary pushing. It can be, sure, but trying something new is really about you.
In 2019, if you are interested in trying new things, don’t focus too much on what’s new to others. Instead, focus on what you think will spark the most interesting and compelling growth for you.
Take Care of You First
2. Look out for yourself, so you can look out better for others.
Perhaps you’ve been there... Your plane is getting ready to take off, and the flight attendants begin going through their safety spiel. As terrible as it is to admit, we all kinda zone out at this point (myself included). There’s one part of the speech though that always jumps out at me – where, in case of a change in cabin pressure, they instruct you to secure your oxygen mask before you help others with theirs. Even children!
When you take a moment to contemplate this though, it makes perfect sense. If you don’t have oxygen – if you are not functioning well – how can you effectively help others, in an emergency or otherwise? You can’t, not really.
When people struggle with feelings about self-care and slip into thoughts of “self care is selfish,” I always think of flight attendants and their wise reminder – and I’m not the only one.
Dr. Wayne Jonas, a professor of medicine at Georgetown University, recently wrote that “self-care is critical to surviving and even more so to thriving.” This is often invoked when we’re thinking about people providing long-term care to loved ones who are chronically ill, but this line of thinking is certainly applicable day-to-day. Be it your partner, parenting, or even in your workplace, taking time out to meet your needs helps you to be present for others.
Moving into 2019, remember that self-care – no matter how grand or small – is not selfish. It’s necessary. It may be challenging to shake the wider social messages that work to plant insecurities in our minds about this, but facing these feelings head on is important.
Hop a Mile in Their Shoes
3. Seriously consider another person’s standpoint – especially if it’s different from your own.
It’s so easy to be open-minded when the person you’re communicating with agrees with you! You’re on the same page, preaching to the choir – there’s someone who gets it. (They’re probably super-smart and good-looking too.)
But here’s the thing: Not everyone agrees with you, nor should they. From politics to intimacy, individuals bring a wealth of unique experiences and information to every conversation and consideration. For as informed as you may be and for as much as you “know” your truth, be mindful that the person sitting next to you feels the same – just about their view. When faced with a difference of opinion, rather than shy away from it, take a moment to consider where your fellow human is coming from with their thoughts.
Now, this is not to suggest everyone can find common ground. It is however to suggest that making the effort to see other sides is important. This can serve you well in all aspects of your life, in 2019 and beyond!
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