I hope you are enjoying this time of year as we are given the chance to pause, to rest, to reflect, and to enjoy the company of others.
Earlier this month, I was quite sick with COVID-19.
What I didn’t expect was to be so weak and unable to do much of anything beyond focusing on my health, confined to my bed, for a good two weeks. But during this time, something quite remarkable happened. Something that went against my programming, which stems back to my childhood and has marked my life as an adult.
I did LESS.
I found myself being forced to cancel all of my appointments. I was unable to make decisions beyond whether or not to shower that day. And I had to simply surrender to my illness.
And you know what?
Everything was OK.
(It really was.)
And I realized that I do too much.
Too much worrying…too much obsessing over small details…too much thinking about and preparing for worse case scenarios…too much approval-seeking…too much self-doubt and criticism. I’ve been ‘on the edge’ most of my adult life, so to speak. Trying to get ahead. Escaping the patterns of my childhood.
I feel that having COVID-19 has given me a chance. A chance to re-boot. To reassess. To go deep and realize how liberating doing (and thinking) LESS can feel.
As a result, I am preparing for 2022 in a different way; I am preparing for a year of LESS!
But that doesn’t mean I’m going to take it easy altogether. Instead, I am being very intentional with my time, thoughts, resources, and energy.
I have spent this break writing my own “Less” Happiness Project as I prepare to take a year-long course on the subject with Gretchen Rubin. I have written a list of personal development books that I am excited to read this year. I am approaching my annual budgeting process from a place of gratitude rather than fear. And I am writing goals from a growth mindset perspective. All from the perspective of LESS.
I want to share this self-discovery with you so that you might learn something from my experience. As Brene Brown says in her new book, Atlas of the Heart, “Research shows that the process of labeling emotional experience is related to greater emotional regulation and psychosocial well-being.” So I am labeling the S*#@ out of this experience. And thank you for being here for me as I do. Brene also says that, “For children, it’s easy for everything to become a source of shame when nothing is normalized You assume that if no one is talking about it, it must be just you.” So that’s why I am talking about this today. I want to normalize the feelings I’ve had for so many years so they are no longer a source of shame. And I want to offer these thoughts to you. In the hope that perhaps you will be inspired to do a little LESS in 2022, too.
Happy New Year!