McDonalds on New Year’s Day
I ate McDonalds for breakfast on New Year’s Day. Yes, I was hungover.
At 1pm the day before, do you know what I had planned for January 1st? I would wake up early, start training for my first marathon, finish a work project, deep clean my house, organize my pantry, make a budget, and write a blog post.
As I scarfed my breakfast sandwich and hashbrowns (no, of course I didn’t just get one item off the menu) trying to cure my hangover, I felt like a waste. I felt like I had fooled everyone, like maybe I was just a big, McDonalds eating failure. That sounds dramatic, but I know you’ve been here too.
I didn’t think, “Oh, I’ll do better tomorrow.” The tapes that played over in my mind were all-too familiar. “I’m a mess. What if people knew I don’t have it all together?”
The New Year is about having a second chance, explaining why we make resolutions. Most fall in step with the masses striving to do better, eat better, and live better.
But let’s ask ourselves a question about our resolutions.
If we skip a day at the gym or drink too much or show up late to work or eat one bite of every chocolate in a box (I actually did this over Christmas and it was amazing), does that mean that we are failures?
Of course not, but it’s important to recognize those whispering thoughts that demand attention when we don’t measure up.
You see goal-setting isn’t the problem and is in fact very beneficial. But resolutions are only effective when we keep our thoughts in check.
Brene Brown has a powerful saying that explains the difference between shame and guilt, pinpointing what I believe to be a healthy state-of-mind for resolution keeping.
Guilt says, “I did something bad. I made a mistake.”
Shame says, “I am bad. I am a mistake.”
When we overindulge, when we stand in the pantry ravenous for junk food, when we have a little too much fun, when we lose a job or a friend because we screwed up–maybe we need to set resolutions. But the problem lies in what we believe about ourselves when we’re promising to do better and striving and pushing ourselves to new levels. We absolutely need to grow, but not at the expense of self-hatred.
Yesterday morning, in the middle of spiral of self-hatred, I remembered a truth that I want to share with you today. A truth that I haven’t fully let soak in deep yet, but one that came to me late one night in December and I am letting wash over me.
I may have done something bad, but I am not bad. I may have made a mistake, but I am not a mistake. I may need to workout more, get up earlier, or learn better portion control, but those parts of me don’t define me.
Brene Brown says the only way out of this shame is vulnerability. And vulnerability is sharing our stories with people we love and trust and allowing ourselves to be seen. Vulnerability is telling you that I drank too much and am very far from perfect.
Vulnerability kindof sucks. But it also rushes in big gulps of freedom.
My word for 2014 is courage. Brown explains that the original definition of courage, when it first came into the English language, was from the Latin word cor, meaning heart. Courage means to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.
The more I ponder this word “courage” the more I see how we miss so much of life when we choose to pretend we have it altogether. So this year, I’m praying for the courage to tell the story of who I am with my whole heart–whether or not I made it to the gym that day or ate McDonalds to cure a hangover.
Will you join me?