With the coming of the new year comes the many new year resolutions. It is that time of the year when we feel it is a good time to make changes to our lives, yet many new year resolutions come and go without much, if any, effective change at the end of that year.
Rather than drawing up a long list of things to do and to avoid, for this year I will focus only on one resolution. It is a resolution that, even if I am not able to fully keep it or even if I manage to keep it for a little while, I should still be able to benefit from it. There should be some perceptible difference to my experience of life.
So, for the new year, my resolution is simply to cease criticizing. By this, I mean stop my mental habit of criticizing others and myself. This is a very common mental tendency but most people are not aware that this tendency is very harmful to our well being as well as detrimental to our happiness. So if you want more peace in your life and more positive experiences, then I suggest that you make this your new year resolution as well.
Do not look down on this simple resolution. It may be a simple resolution but it is not an easy one to keep. However, each time I am able to stop myself from criticizing others or myself, I am achieving an important thing.
I am unlearning my mental tendency of focusing on the negative, whether it is the person or the deed, and relearning a new mental tendency of focusing on the positive. In the process, I am also learning to let go of my needs to be right or be perfect, or my need for others to say, act or behave in one way or another that matches my own expectations. In other words, I am learning to accept things and people as they are. I am also learning to accept myself as I am.
As always, all mental cultivation require the skill of mindfulness or heightened non-judgmental self awareness. Thus, in order to be able to keep this single resolution, I will need to constantly remind myself to be mindful of my thoughts and emotions.
So, while this single resolution to cease criticizing may look simple, it is not easy. Changing any existing mental habit is never easy but the fruit is well worth the effort. Do it slowly, one step at a time, and gradually it will become a new and better mental habit that will surely change the way you experience your life.
Remember, a small tweak here can make a huge difference to the quality of your life.
Happy New Year!