I awoke this morning thinking about the New Year and began reading a few of the resolution lists, such as: The Only Resolution List you Need, Five Things You Can Do To Get in Better Shape or New Years Resolutions: How Do you Make One and Keep It.

As I was reading I began to feel worse about myself, not better and this led me to realize that a lot of these lists can be very black and white. Saying such things as in order to get here you need to do this, or if you want these results don’t do that. This verbiage can often force your spirit to think about what you are not doing or accomplishing, verses what you are doing and accomplishing in life. It can also encourage the psyche to begin to compare to others successes and accomplishments forgetting about what is already wonderful and successful about your own life.

So as your daily therapist here is my one tip for you in 2018, live more in the gray, not in the black and white. Not because it will get you in better shape, more confident or have more money. No, simply because it will allow you stop beating yourself up for not doing something right or wrong, or good or bad. It will help you stay out of what I call the “shower of shame.” This shower is a place where you hear words such as, “I am unhealthy, unproductive, or unsuccessful.” Or worry about things such as, “If I don’t get to the gym, become happier, or have better sex I am a loser and not worthy of love and belonging.” Not a place to exist to strengthen your spirit and self-worth.

So what does “living in the gray” look like? It is a lifestyle where you may go to a yoga class and choose to be in child’s pose or shivasana because you need an hour to lay down and have someone else take care of you. But then the next time you attend a yoga class, you push yourself a bit more to try a new pose, be a bit uncomfortable or open yourself up to a new class or teacher. Living in the gray is about having balance with what you put into your body, have a green juice for breakfast and then listen to the voice that is craving a piece of pizza and a glass of wine for dinner. Or how you live in your home, one day your house may be immaculate and you shine with pride with your “Martha Stewart” lifestyle. And then the next day it is a disaster from kids running through dropping their sporting equipment in every room or you feeling the need to not pick up for a day or two.

Living in the gray is about being open to following the voice of your body and soul, listening to what is best for you in the moment versus the voice of “should’s and coulds.” The gray is living in your natural cicada rhythm of life when you are inspired to accomplish something, you go for it, push yourself out of your comfort zone and then trust that when your soul is searching for some down time to slow down, become quiet, shut down your life for a bit. Waking up to the realization that living in the gray is living in your soul and a place without shame, guilt, perfectionism and self-hatred.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to stay in the gray.

What activities do I love to do? Walk my dog, stretch while watching episodes of The Housewives, or run to the store to get a morning donut. These are all perfect, valuable and right just for you.
What people inspire me and fill my soul? Name your top 5 people and then put your time, love and energy into those people and let the rest come in and out of your life when it works for you.
How do I love to spend my time? What fills your soul? Is it walking in the woods, knitting, and playing cards with your kids, or reading romance novels?
I am learning to embrace my “grayness” as well. The part of me that sometimes wants to spend the morning in a work out class and then on another day sitting in a café reading my emails. I am attempting to not feel guilty that some days I have enough energy to run around after work driving my kids to and from their activities and then be okay with the part of me that just the other day called my husband and asked him to take the kids for an afternoon so I could sit on my couch, with a bowl of buttered popcorn, to binge watch 13 Reasons Why with no responsibilities.

I encourage you to throw out your lists of what is right and wrong and begin to embrace your “grayness” of life. To become the witness of your own life and watch when you get to caught up in your negative thought patterns, schedules, responsibilities, or obligations. When you begin to hear things such as, “If I don’t do this or that I am a bad parent, lazy person, or awful employee” recognizing that you are hopping into your “shower of shame” and not living in a place of self acceptance, and the grayness of life.

This is my one and only resolution for 2018 to live in the gray and I encourage you to try it out to. Because living in the gray is not only better for your spirit, but also so much more fun!