If you are thinking of how you would like to change, grow, and improve in the new year, I would like to recommend to you the following article:
"Dog Training Tips That May Also Work On Your Husband"
In addition to being both brief and humorous, it also contains valuable insight into how we should be treating ourselves on our journeys of self improvement. I once read a description of how having a successful relationship with one's husband was very similar to training a dog to bring the newspaper up to the house.
Well, the process of fetching the newspaper is actually made up of many tiny behaviors that the dog needs to master. For example: getting the paper, remembering to come back to the house, bringing the paper up the sidewalk, bringing it up on the porch, bringing it in the house, getting it without ripping it to shreds, and so on. The key to that mastery? Rewarding approximation. It's key that every successful step on the way is celebrated. The dog feels that he is winning.
We all work better if we feel the teacher likes us. We all enjoy relationships when we feel that we are winning. But what if the teacher is us? Do we take the time to build that winning relationship with ourselves?
My hypothesis is that, if I work on treating myself as a valuable partner, that it may spill over into how I approach relationships with others. It may seem simple. We have all heard "love thy neighbor as thyself." The dark side is how our relationships fail if our treatment of ourselves is punitive and judgemental.
James Taylor sings that "The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time." Here's to fostering enjoyment in the new year: of life experiences, of friends and neighbors, and of ourselves.