Just As You Are

The real countdown, has been building slowly, all through the last festive month. Niggling at the back of our minds.

Christmas Eve gives way to Christmas Day, to Stephen’s Day and then to this last hurrah tonight before the depression of January takes hold. Today, half of the population (a disproportionately female half) will bear a striklingly close resemblance to Bridget Jones, as they compile long lists of harsh and unachieveable “I will” and “I will not” activities – otherwise known as New Years Resolutions.

Before you and I both join their ranks, I thought it might be worth taking a moment, to consider these two questions first.

Am I making a fair comparison?

Our perceptions of our own shortcomings are mostly based on looking at other people’s lives and finding our own lives, in comparison, sadly lacking. We see people who are more successful than us, thinner than us, having more fun than us – examples of what we could be, if only we just tried harder. Celebrities have for a long time offered up their perfectly packaged exteriors for envy. But at least we could reassure ourselves that those pedestals are far away and those fabulous people are a different breed. Now however, we have a much more insidious basis for comparison. And it’s called Facebook. A place where we are assaulted daily by the shiny happy photos and comments and status updates, of people just like us. Who judging from their profile activity, all seem to be living lives of unbridled sociability, cultural connection and self fulfillment. But Facebook is a public face. Unsurprisingly, no one ever posts about their many normal insecurities and failures.

I saw this wonderfully philosophical quote on Twitter which really captured this main point for me, so I offer it up to you now:

“Don’t judge your inside by other people’s outside”

Do I really need to change?

I know people who put extraordinary effort into their resolutions – the kind of effort matched only by procrastinating students a few weeks before their exams: timetables, goal plans, before and after mood boards of their present and future lives (this is true).

Yes we all could do with a little tweak here and there, but do we really need this level of self-flagellation? This drive for perfection is exhausting. And unnecessary.

What matters most, is not becoming the most accomplished versions of ourselves.  More often than not, our resolutions are focused on just that –  improving cosmetic and externally facing areas of our lives, like our bodies and our bank balances.  And as time and energy are finite resources, this means we’re wasting them on all the wrong things.

What matters most is spending time with people we care about. And amazingly, those people already like you very much. Just as you are.

    • Anna O’Malley
    • January 11th, 2011

    Great Blog Neasa! We love you just the way you are!! I know you’d love me more though if I just changed a few things…. 🙂

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