It's the start of a new year. Often around this time of year we start making resolutions. You've done that before, right? A lot of us will make resolutions about changing something about ourselves, like losing weight. The TV, Internet, and radio are full of advertisements for weight loss products, building on the fact that so many people are ready to make a new start. We often hear this time of year the touting of the concept of "new year, new you."
There's so much pressure to think, "If only I could be _________" thinner, smarter, prettier, you name it, and then life would be better. But think of the people who you like the best, do you like them mostly because they're thin, smart, or look good? Probably not, right? You probably tend to like them because they listen to you when you talk, or make you laugh, or stick up for you when someone hurts you. The reason we love our friends is because they are amazing people, people who care about us. Well, that's how your friends feel about you too. Maybe it's not so much that you need to change yourself for life to be better. Maybe you just need to learn to become more of the amazing person that you already are!
What if this year, instead of trying to change ourselves, we decided to become the best us that we can be? My friend, you have something special about you, something unique that you have to offer this world. Sometimes it's hard to see what's special about yourself. I've actually had people say to me, "I don't do anything good. I have no talents." That isn't true. Each one of us was born with a unique set of skills and a unique personality that makes us different, that sets us apart and allows us to make this world better because we were here. There's a little boy in my town who's about to turn 7. He has an aggressive form of leukemia and isn't doing well. He decided that he would spend every day of his life, however long or short that may be, trying to make this world better by helping and loving other people. He's a very sick little boy. What could he possibly do to make this world better? He started a project to raise money to build wells in villages in other countries where people are desperately in need of clean water. Through this act, this little boy is changing the lives of whole villages full of people!
Think about it for a minute: What can you do to make this world a better place? What can you do to become more of the amazing you? Some of us have talents that are obvious, like being a great artist or mathematician or athlete. Some of our talents are less visible but just important, like being able to make people laugh, knowing how to stand up for the underdog, or make other people feel good about themselves. This year, I challenge you to find your gifts and focus on become, not a thinner you, not a prettier you, but amazing you.
Jennifer Shewmaker, PhD is a nationally certified school psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology who has worked with hundreds of adolescents and families. She writes about adolescents and media on her blog www.jennifershewmaker.com.