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2013, the self-acceptance project, and what I learned

December 31, 2013

So one of my resolutions for 2013 was a thing I called the self-acceptance project.

I had been unhappy with myself for as long as I could remember. I’ve always thought that had to do with my looks. The plan was to write in a journal, and do things that scared me, and all kinds of inspirational things, and try to like what I look like more.

I haven’t really made peace with my looks or my body, mind you, but I think that’s going to happen soon enough anyway, because the self-acceptance project turned out to be about something else entirely. It turned out to be about what I should have set out to do in the first place.

I have had a very good year. It hasn’t been perfect – the more I like myself, the more I hate my job and the more it makes me miserable, and the last few weeks have been very stressful on my family, but in general, 2013 has been my best year.

Because I have been happy. I had never truly been happy before. Happy moments, for sure, but I had never been really, truly, unquestionably happy. I know that sounds sad, but I promise you it isn’t. There are tons of people who go through their entire lives without ever being happy. I only went until age 30.

So this is a thing I have learned to tell myself this year:

You will always, always, always, without exception, fail to meet other people’s expectations. And it doesn’t matter. Other people’s expectations are usually unreasonable and about them, not you. And just because someone loves you, it doesn’t give them the right to impose unreasonable expectations on you, and you shouldn’t care about failing to meet their expectations for you, and if they make you feel even a tiny little bit bad about it, they don’t love you as much as they claim to. If they want to feel bad about it, that’s up to them, but you are under no obligation to feel bad.

The only person whose expectations you are obligated to meet (and surpass) are your own. Turn out however you want. As long as you work hard and you’re kind, you are a successful person, and don’t let anyone else tell you any different. I’ve said this before on this blog (I borrowed it from a Conan commencement speech, at Dartmouth I think) but I believe it:  if you work hard and you are kind, amazing things will happen. Nobody is going to dump a bunch of money in your lap or rescue you from your shitty job, don’t get me wrong, but you know. Just be a non-shitty, non-entitled, non-deadbeat human, and you’ll be happy, no matter what other people think you should do.

So that’s a thing I have been telling myself. You don’t have to borrow it, but you can if you want.

It’s worked for me. I like myself a whole lot more than I did a year ago. In that I actually like who I am, finally. And I think the making peace with your looks thing follows from that, right?

One more thing since I am being all cheesy and ridiculous:  I am incredibly thankful to have my family and friends in my life. I am surrounded by amazing people and I love you all.

I have two resolutions for 2014: To write more (about whatever I want), and to find an awesome job. Maybe the two will be related.

Happy New Year, everybody! Don’t drink and drive. Ever.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 31, 2013 2:05 pm

    Believing in yourself and allowing yourself to set your own standards is an awesome way to live. I’m happy you’ve discovered the difference this can make in your life.

  2. Gabby permalink
    December 31, 2013 3:08 pm

    What a beautiful sentiment for the new year. You’re a great writer, and I always look forward to reading your personal posts, as well as hockey posts! It does get easier as you get older, I can promise you that.

  3. December 31, 2013 5:46 pm

    Happy New Years! Hope 2014 brings happiness and all that you hope for! :)

  4. @j_sonier permalink
    December 31, 2013 10:53 pm

    Proud of you, Laura. Thanks so much for sharing this with everyone. Being happy is hard, but you’ve shown us it’s something to be worked on, and we can’t just lament the lack of it. I hope you have a great 2014 too!

  5. January 1, 2014 12:49 am

    That’s a whole lotta wisdom right there. Happy New Year!

  6. January 1, 2014 3:26 am

    This rocks. Congrats on making it.

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