Saturday, January 3, 2015

"Be a Yea- Sayer" - My New Year's Resolution

We're surrounded by good intentions - people deciding that  this is the year they will get fit,  lose weight,  read every issue of The New Yorker,  volunteer , buy only organic food,  dress nicely, take yoga lessons, be the clone of Martha Stewart, and generally  be far better than most of us can pull off  - at least not on a daily basis.

Which then makes us think about last year's resolutions and how we fared.    This has been my global resolution for several years:

Not bad, but leaves lots of wiggle room.  In my previous life I worked in health care process improvement.   While every facility wants to  set lofty improvement goals, starting with small steps is the best way to get there.  We can easily get overwhelmed by those big, fat goals - how on earth are we going to get there from here?  So we broke the goal down into "actionable items" and asked, "OK, so you want to eliminate all medication errors.  Great - what can you do by Tuesday to get you started?".

That's how I've been thinking about this New Year Resolution thing.   Realistically, I'm not going to turn into a combination of Mother Theresa,  Tina Fey, and Helen Mirren overnight.    So while my lofty goal is to be a better version of me, how the heck do I get there?   By thinking about what small part I can do now- or at least by Tuesday.

Then this Nietzsche quote showed up in my Facebook Brain Pickings feed:

"... I want more and more to perceive the necessary character in things as beautiful- thus I shall be one of those who beautify things....I do not want to wage war with ugly.  I do not want to accuse.  I do not even want to accuse the accusers.  Looking aside.  Let that be my sole negation.  And all in all, to sum it up; I wish to be at any time hereafter, only a yea-sayer".

If I were Nietzsche, that exactly how I would have phrased my resolution. While my end-game is to be a better person, maybe my  Tuesday goal could be to be kinder to everyone around me, and frankly, to myself.  I was talking to DC son over the holidays and said that I felt bad about something I hadn't done, and he (wise beyond his years), said, "Mom, you feel  bad about too many things".    So I'm including myself in the people I want to treat with kindness.  Funny thing about kindness; it's easy to be kind to people we like and who treat us well.  The others?  Not so much.  So really the goal is global kindness, not just to people who agree with me and are nice to me.   

Think the key to this is in the quote - if we look to see the beauty in others, we can more easily respond with positive vibes of our own.     The quote on one of this year's calendar pages sums it up - we see what we're looking for.

So, 2015, bring it on.   I'm working on being kind, so be kind with me, too.

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