Brave in 2017

January 4, 2017

2017 is upon us!

A new year brings new opportunities, new challenges, new sights, and new sounds.

For many of us, a new year is a fresh start and a chance to change our lives.  It’s refreshing to feel a chapter close and start writing the next. 2016 is behind us, and we have all of 2017 to make of it whatever we choose.

As you settle into a new rhythm to make your resolution a success (remember, it takes 21 days to form a new habit), I would like to challenge you to make a change with me.  If you’ve read some of the blogs I’ve written in the past you already know that I struggle with perfectionism. It has shaped the majority of my life and I’ve always been ashamed to admit it. That shame I felt was just one more element of my struggle. Now I know, you know, and we can all look at 2017 at a time to do something about it.

This year, I would like you to make a change with me. 2016 showed us a lot of pain, tears, hate, and fear. We felt loss and we felt terror. Our reality has changed over the last year and it will continue to do so. Change is the only constant. I think we can all agree on that. While that can be frightening and evoke sorrow, I think it can also inspire hope.

2017 will bring change. While we don’t have control over a lot, we do have a little control over what that change will look like in our actions. I believe that’s why we all feel such hope this time of year. This year is what we make of it.

I’d like to challenge you to be kind.

In my life, I must learn to be kind to myself. I must learn to be patient and release anxiety; I must learn to silence the judgment I cast on myself when life isn’t perfect and I must see the beauty in my imperfections. I must embrace my humanity. I challenge you to do the same.

Then recognize it in others.

The bravery we need now comes from a willingness to be vulnerable. We need to find “me too” moments and discover our common humanity in those words.  There is no bravery to be found in fear. Bravery comes from leaning into the conversations that make us nervous and uncomfortable.  There is no bravery in silence. There is great bravery in words of kindness.

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Begin by granting kindness to yourself. We all make mistakes, we’re all imperfect, and we all forget to turn our cell phone off in the movie theater. These things happen. We’re human. You’re not going to be great at something the first time. You’re just not. But that doesn’t mean you should quit. Be brave – choose kindness.

Next, take a look around. You’re surrounded by humans. People who feel hate, fear, terror, shame, and judgment just like you do.  Be brave – choose kindness.

It’s a choice. Every morning, every minute, every breath. You choose your thoughts, your words, and, most importantly, your actions. I may sound like your mom when you were 8 but, as moms usually are, she was right. You have control over what you do.

Choose to be brave. Choose kindness. Choose change in 2017.